The history of Tiffany & Co jewellery

Tiffany & Co jewellery

Tiffany & Co.’s history began in 1837 in New York, with the arrival of Charles L. Tiffany and his association with John B. Young to open a luxury item and jewellery shop in Manhattan. The House soon specialised in jewellery and diamonds. First published in 1845, the Tiffany Blue Book became the first mail order catalogue in the United States. The famous Tiffany blue box, exclusively given when making a purchase, very quickly became the hallmark of the House, which met with great success all over the world. In 1906, the New York Sun reported: "Tiffany has, in his shop, something that he will refuse to sell you, regardless of the amount of money that you will be able to offer him. This thing (...) is one of his boxes.”

At the Paris World’s Fair in 1878, Tiffany won medals of excellence. The Tiffany & Co. studio became the first American school of design and silver work. Beginning in 1870, Tiffany & Co. has stood out as the premiere American House of jewellery and watches, but also for tableware and luxury accessories. Tiffany & Co caused a new style to emerge, known as "American style,” which was more modern and distinguished from European aesthetics, inspired by nature and certain simplicity in sophistication.

In 1878, Tiffany acquired one of the most beautiful and largest diamonds in the world, from South African mines. George F. Kunz, a Tiffany gemmologist, then decided to cut the huge stone with 288 carats and 82 facets: this was daring, because diamonds usually have 58 facets. This gem was legendary, and it has become emblematic of art and the virtuosity of Tiffany. In 1886, the House created the engagement ring model as we still know it, a diamond "solitaire" on the ring. The famous crimped Tiffany holds the gem with six small claws, allowing light to reflect and causing the stone to shine brilliantly. Before 1900, the Tiffany & Co. House was represented in Europe, in London, Paris and Geneva.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles L. Tiffany, stood out thanks to his Art nouveau (and soon Art deco) creations. The fame of the House is global. Since the 1940s, the store located at the corner of 57th Street, became the iconic boutique of the Tiffany & Co. House. Its windows were made famous by the book, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and its film adaptation in 1961. In it, we see the graceful Audrey Hepburn having breakfast at dawn, in front of the gems of the famous jeweller... Having become a great classic in international jewellery, like the Cartier House, Tiffany & Co reigns.

Many designers and collaborations followed with jewellery and goldsmith collections and remained famous: Jean Schlumberger in 1956, Elsa Peretti in 1974, Paloma Picasso in 1979, and Frank Gehry in 2003. In December 2007, Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. announced their alliance, for the development, production and distribution of Tiffany watches. It came to an end in 2011.

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