Tiffany & Co: It’s More Than a Little Blue Box

It’s about authenticity. Tiffany & Co is synonyms with exceptional quality luxury goods. The brand has come to mean elegance and attention to detail.

In 1837 25-year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young opened Tiffany’s as a “stationery and fancy goods” store with a $1,000 advance from Charles Tiffany’s father. 259 Broadway was surrounded by narrow streets teeming with horses and carriages. Fashionable people discovered this store with it’s newly emerging “American style” that departed from the Victorian era’s opulence.

Tiffany Classic

Tiffany & Company, Union Square, storage area with porcelain, c. 1887 (Via: Wikipedia)

Tiffany’s jewelry was inspired by the natural world, which they interpreted as styles that displayed simplicity, harmonious thoughts, and clarity. By 1867 the company achieved international recognition at the Paris World’s Fair. Tiffany’s was awarded the grand prize for silver craftsmanship. They were the first American company to employ the British silver standard (92% pure). By 1870 Tiffany & Co had become America’s premier silversmith and purveyor of jewels and timepieces.

Tiffany diamondAt the turn of the 20th century, they had grown to over 1,000 employees and branches in some of the major cities in Europe: Geneva, London, and Paris. In 1878 Tiffany acquired a major coup: one of the world’s largest fancy yellow diamonds from the Kimberley diamond mines in S. Africa. The original stone was cut from a 287.42-carat diamond and Tiffany reworked it to 128.54 carats with 82 facets, which gave the stone its legendary fire and brilliance. This stone was named the “Tiffany Diamond” and a legend was born. The photo on the left represents the iconic diamond in its current setting. Photo credit:

In 1886 Tiffany introduced the engagement ring as we know it today. Prior to this, diamond rings were set into bezels. Mr. Tiffany’s rings were designed to lift the stone to highlight the brilliant-cut diamonds. By lifting the stone off of the band and into the light it came to life and all the facets were illuminated. This famous ring was named the Tiffany® Setting. It has continued to this day, to be one of the most elegant symbols of enduring love.

Tiffany’s reputation continued to rise as one of the world authorities on diamonds after they purchased crown jewels from France and Spain. Eventually, they were appointed as Royal Jeweler to the crowned heads of Europe, the Czar of Russia, as well as the Ottoman Emperor.

Tiffany necklace worn by womanMovies have featured Tiffany jewels at the center stage and the red carpet is lined with stars adorning their jewels. Kendal Jenner, Gal Gadot, Alicia Keys, are just a few of the celebrities who wore Tiffany & Co to the 2019 Met Gala. Lady Gaga wore the 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond (right), which was acquired by Charles Tiffany in 1878 (that we previously discussed) to this year’s Oscars. She evoked the look that Audrey Hepburn made famous in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Up until Lady Gaga wore it at the Oscars, Hepburn was one of only two people to wear the necklace which renowned artist and Tiffany designer, Jean Schlumberger, created. Photo credit:

Schlumberger’s aesthetic was all about imagination and appealed to the most prominent and important members of American society. Presidents, high society patrons (social influencers of their time) all aspired to own pieces of his jewelry. The Vanderbilts, Astors, Whitneys, and Havemeyers adorned their evening attire in Tiffany diamonds. Mary Todd, President Lincoln’s wife received a seed pearl set purchased in 1861 & Franklin Roosevelt bought an engagement ring for Eleanor, in 1904.

Schlumberger became famous for his nature-inspired jeweled flights of fancy. He created inspired sea creatures, heraldic motifs set with an array of gems with sculptural fold and platinum metalwork to mimic life, fantasy flowers with natural elements, and whimsical animals.

The value of Tiffany jewelry is affected by the piece’s age, rarity, condition and popularity. To make sure your jewelry keeps its value, keep your pieces in a lined jewelry box to prevent damage. Blemishes like scratches or scuffs can lead to a reduced value. Also, keeping your original Tiffany Blue Box and documentation from your purchase will enhance the value of your jewelry.

Tiffany gift bag

A shopper carries a Tiffany & Co. bag outside the company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Regal Jewelry Buyers has a resale network built over decades and expertise in Tiffany jewelry. We are able to pay the highest prices for previously-owned Tiffany fine jewelry and diamond rings. Contact Regal Estate Jewelry to get a quote on the best price to sell a stone or piece of vintage jewelry through their experienced Graduate Gemologist and GIA certified buyers and sellers of precious stones, diamonds, and quality watches. It is a highly trained and qualified place to get a valuation on your jewels.

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