Today the world’s most iconic jewellery brand, the history of Tiffany And Co. dates back to 1837 when twenty-five year old Charles Lewis Tiffany and his friend opened a modest stationery and fancy goods emporium.
Arguably the world’s most iconic jewellery brand.. the history of Tiffany goes back to 1837 when twenty-five year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and his schoolfriend John B Young opened a modest fancy goods and stationary emporium in Lower Manhattan with $1,000 loan from Tiffany’s father. Initially named “Tiffany and Young” it was shortened to “Tiffany And Co.”- colloquially known as Tiffany’s- in 1853 when Charles Tiffany took sole control and began focusing on silver ornaments and jewellery. In no time the store was the go-to destination for ladies searching for minimalist jewellery or timepieces, a departure from the opulence of the Victorian era. Unlike other stores in the Thirties.. Tiffany marked the price on its products and accepted cash payment, strictly no credit.
Per CNN: “According to Andrea Davey- the senior vice president of global marketing at Tiffany’s – it’s difficult to pinpoint when turquoise became associated with the brand and it’s unclear why, exactly, the founders settled on that particular shade. Yet she noted that as early as 1889 the company used the hue in its display at the World’s Fair in Paris. “The presence of the color at the fair could suggest that by the turn of the 19th century, this shade of blue was already associated with Tiffany and Co.” she said.”
Tiffany’s mail order catalogue –The Blue Book– was published in 1845 to showcase its couture jewellery set with the most opulent magnificent gemstones. Over time The Blue Book evolved into a showcase of Tiffany High Jewellery representing the ultimate expression of Tiffany innovation, rare gemstones and unparalleled craftsmanship.
Tiffany first achieved international recognition at the 1867 Paris Exposition Universalle. The company was awarded a bronze medal for silverware the first time that an American design house had been so honored by a foreign jury. Tiffany was the first American company to adopt the British silver standard of using ninety-two per cent pure metal.
In 1878 Tiffany acquired one of the world’s largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds sourced from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. Under the guidance of Tiffany’s gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz the diamond was cut from 287.42 carats to 128.54 carats with eighty-two facets which gave the stone its legendary brilliance. Named The Tiffany Diamond… the stone became an exemplar of Tiffany craftsmanship and can be seen at Tiffany’s New York flagship.
In 1886 Tiffany designed the engagement ring that enhanced the diamond by lifting it off the band. Previously, diamond rings were set in bezels. But Tiffany’s ring was designed to highlight brilliant-cut diamonds by lifting the stone off the band into the light. This famous ring was named the Tiffany® Setting. To this day it is the most sought-after symbol of true love.
In 1968- Lady Bird Johnson- First Lady of the U.S. commissioned Tiffany to design White House china service following which President Chester Arthur invited him to redecorate the White House.. President Lincoln bought a pearl suit for his wife.. Franklin Roosevelt bought an engagement ring. Throughout its history the U.S. Government has called on Tiffany to create commemorative designs. Among them.. ceremonial swords for Civil War general.. Congressional Medal of Honor.. and redesigning Great Seal of the United States. The brand again made headlines when Charles Lewis Tiffany bought one third of the French Crown Jewels in 1887. Its exhibitions at Paris Fair 1889 and 1990 saw the most extraordinary collection of jewellery by an American jewellery house and the number of awards led to Tiffany’s appointment as Royal Jeweller to the crowned heads of Europe, Ottoman Emperor and Czar of Russia.
After the death of Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1902.. his son Louis Comfort Tiffany became Art Director. The Art Nouveau movement was popular and Louis’ creative nature-inspired jewellery designed with glass, gemstones and enamels placed the luxury brand at its vanguard. He also opened Tiffany Artistic Jewellery Department in the New York flagship for jewellery and precious objects to be made onsite.
In November 1978 Tiffany and Co. was sold to Disney for reportedly US$104 million in stock. Although it was later resold a few times. Tiffany and Co. went public again in 1987 and raised about $103.5 million. The Tiffany and Co. Foundation was established in 2000 for grants to non-profit organisations in the space of the environment and the arts. In 2012 Tiffany marked its 175th anniversary. In honor of this milestone The Tiffany Diamond was reset in a magnificent necklace of white diamonds. After traveling to Tokyo, Beijing and Dubai, the diamond in its new setting returned to New York City and its permanent place of honor on the Main Floor of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store. This priceless yellow diamond is symbolic of a heritage based on the highest standards of quality and design excellence.
Over the past decade Tiffany has evolved its jewellery collections, introduced a Home and Accessories line and made significant strides in responsible diamond sourcing while advancing its sustainability goals. Fragrance offerings such as “Tiffany Eau de Parfum” and “Tiffany and Love Fragrances” redefine Tiffany fragrance for a new generation. Today Tiffany’s collections are anchored in the philosophy of “everyday luxury”. What’s more, cafes have opened at Tiffany stores around the world as both pop-ups and permanent cafes… making the dream of dining at Tiffany a reality.
Sustainability is one of the luxury brand’s pillars. Tiffany and Co. has become the first luxury jeweller to receive approval from the Science Based Targets initiative on its net-zero emissions target. This validation confirms that the targets Tiffany and Co. has set to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 are based on the latest climate science and meet the urgent need to keep warming to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement.
In 2017 Reed Krakoff was hired by Tiffany and Co. as Chief Artistic Director and he envisioned overhauling the iconic jewellery brand’s design to appeal to a younger consumer base and boost sales. Per BoF: “Krakoff released his debut collection dubbed “Paper Flowers” a line that serves as a vital piece of Tiffany’s strategy to introduce more items, more often. By shaking things up and keeping product lines fresh, the jeweller’s executives hope to inject some excitement into a dusty brand in serious need of a revamp.”
The decade witnessed a lot of restructuring within the company. Francesca Amfitheatrof took over as Design Director in 2013. In 2017 the company let go of CEO Frédéric Cuménal due to weak sales. For some time.. former CEO Michael Kowalski took the reins before Alessandro Bogliolo was named CEO. Under his leadership Tiffany and Co. turned around the slumping sales and captured a younger audience. In recent news Tiffany and Co. opened Blue Box Cafe in New York in November 2017 and launched Home and Accessories.
Tiffany envisions redefining love’s special moments with iconic jewellery.
“Honouring our legacy and defining our future through our most valuable asset — our people.”
Tiffany retails fine jewellery that has become synonymous with elegance and innovative design.. fine craftsmanship and creative excellence.
Charles Lewis Tiffany, John B. Young (Founders)
Anthony Ledru (CEO)