Tiffany & Co is a name that is familiar to the ears of millions around the world. Behind the lustre of the Tiffany Diamond and reknown of the robin’s-egg blue box however, is a moving story of risk-taking, thrilling discoveries and staunch dedication to quality and craftsmanship. It is also the story of the rise of American wealth and society, whose ideal of luxury was shaped by one man, Charles Lewis Tiffany.
- Shopping for the perfect Valentine's Day gift with general manager of Tiffany & Co Malaysia, Marianne Liow
Charles Lewis Tiffany
Not only is Tiffany & Co one of the most respected names in retailing, it has more than 200 stores around the world and continues to grow daily, led by the company's tradition of excellence. From Broadway in New York City, to our Malaysian pride and joy, Suria KLCC, Tiffany & Co stores continue to cater to all walks of life with its many offerings, from the more exquisite Victoria collection with diamonds of the most superior cuts, to the younger and chic Return to Tiffany collection that has garnered a popularity unlike any other collections as many buyers' first Tiffany. We take a look at some of Tiffany & Co’s most classic – the Tiffany Yellow Diamond and Tiffany Atlas bangles among them – to see why the brand is such a celebrated symbol of love.
Charles Lewis Tiffany and Charles T Cook
A Humble Beginning
Born in Killingley, Connecticut, USA, to a prosperous textile manufacturer, the visionary Tiffany was 25 years old when he and good friend, John B. Young, borrowed $1,000USD from his father and started a stationery and fancy goods store at 259 Broadway in New York City. On opening day, September 14, 1837, sales totaled $4.98USD. Undeterred, Tiffany held on to his philosophy of “good design is good business” and transformed that small shop into what is known as Tiffany & Co today.
Photograph of the French Crown Jewels
The King of Diamonds
Eager to expand his luxury offerings to jewellery that no other brand could offer, Tiffany risked the profits of his fledgling enterprise on a cache of exquisite diamonds purchased from French aristocrats, marking the first appearance of major gemstones in the US. It won him the title of “The King of Diamonds” by the press for his gutsy decision, but that was not the end of it. In 1887, he shocked the world by acquiring the French Crown Jewels, many of which became parts of Tiffany’s designs in what may be called the birth of American style in diamond jewellery. With them, he created spectacular tiaras, necklaces and diamond ornaments that lit up the most lavish of society’s galas.
THe Tiffany Yellow Diamond
The Tiffany Yellow Diamond
A yellow diamond of extraordinary fire and beauty, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond is a symbol of the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship established with the founding of Tiffany & Co in 1837. In 1877, the rough diamond of 287.42 carats was discovered in the Kimberley mines of South Africa. Tiffany purchased the stone and sent it to Paris where it is cut to 128.54 carats. Officially named the Tiffany Diamond, it is deemed one of the largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds ever discovered. It has only been worn twice in its entire lifetime, once by Mrs Mary Whitehouse, mounted on a lavish necklace for the 1957 Tiffany Ball and the other by Audrey Hepburn as a necklace surrounded by diamond ribbons in publicity photographs for the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Tiffany Blue Box
The Tiffany Blue
The colour that is synonymous with the brand itself, the Tiffany Blue, was originally selected by Tiffany himself for the cover of the Blue Book, an annual book that showcased his collection of exquisitely handcrafted jewellery. Also referred to as robin’s-egg blue or forget-me-not blue, this distinctive colour may have been chosen because of the popularity of the turquoise gemstone in the 19th century. Turquoise was also a favourite of Victorian brides who often gave their attendants a dove-shaped brooch of turquoise as a wedding day memento. The idea was to make Tiffany & Co the first company that pops into mind the moment customers of that era thought of wedding gifts.
Sketches of The Tiffany Setting
The Tiffany Setting
Tiffany revolutionised the way weddings rings are set with what is known today as the Tiffany Setting. An incurable romantic and a firm believer in the nobility of true love, Tiffany was adamant to introduce a diamond engagement ring that is more brilliant than any ring on earth. He did so by designing a ring in which the diamond is lifted off the band, maximising the stone’s natural radiance. Previously, the common practice was to set diamond rings in bezel. With its debut in 1886, the setting quickly became the quintessential engagement ring, used even in today’s modern world.
Tiffany Atlas bangles
The Atlas Collection
One of Tiffany’s most iconic collections is the Atlas. Introduced in 1995, the collection is named for the mythic Greek god who holds aloft an enormous globe – an apt symbol for a collection that makes an impact around the world. Created by John Loring, Tiffany’s design director emeritus, the Atlas collection explores the raised Roman numerals of its archetype, the Atlas watch. The design’s signature Roman numerals are the ageless artifacts of a great civilisation and its elevated concept of time. Tiffany streamlines these classic symbols of empire in elegant jewellery that is recognisably sleek and modern.
Introduced in 2009, Tiffany keys represent success, infinite possibility and the fulfillment of extraordinary hopes. Each key is created in a variety of styles that layer beautifully to reveal the many facets of self-expression. They are hand cut and the stones set in a variety of metals, among them platinum as well as 18-karat yellow, white and rose gold. They represent the epitome of luxurious touchstones on the journey of life.
All of Tiffany’s pearls are hand selected by the respective country’s gemological experts and are precisely matched for size and colour. They are recognised for their beautiful shapes, exquisite lustre and superior nacre thickness. Tiffany pearl strands are all strung on pure silk, with each design then finished off with the distinctive Tiffany Signature clasp, an elegant ‘X’ motif in 18-karat gold. Today, Tiffany incorporates several kinds of pearls in its jewellery design, ranging from 2mm to 10mm in size and come in a variety of shapes and colours, including white, rosé, gold and silvery blue.
Tiffany Gemstone Rings
Tiffany Coloured Gemstones
Prior to the mid-19th century, coloured gemstones were rarely used in American jewellery. All that changed in 1876 when a young gemologist, Dr George Frederick Kunz, sold an exceptional tourmaline to Tiffany, soon after which Kunz joined the company and embarked on a lifelong quest for the most extraordinary gemstones for Tiffany’s clientele. Following that historic moment, Tiffany continues to introduce new gemstones that remain vibrantly alive to this very day. From Paraiba tourmalines to mandarin garnets, exquisite emeralds from Colombia and sapphire from Kashmir, each Tiffany gem is set in jewellery designs handcrafted with legendary quality and style that has distinguished Tiffany & Co for more than 177 years.
Tiffany Anniversary Tanzanite necklace
From diamonds and pearls to gemstones and precious stones, Tiffany has long interpreted them in exquisite patterns of simplicity, harmony and clarity. This singular style is what that has established Tiffany & Co as the arbiter of taste, elegance and sophistication. Here lies also the exact reason why very time you buy a Tiffany, you can rest assured that you’re purchasing a piece of history that’s injected with new contemporary taste and constant innovation.
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