Tiffany & Co. History and Facts

Now that we’ve covered the main jewelry eras and precious gemstones, it’s time for us to dive into famous, world-recognized jewelry designers. Signed jewelry has always been desirable due to its credibility, top quality materials, and exquisite craftsmanship. The industry's famous jewelry names include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, Bvlgari, David Webb, Boucheron, Graff, Buccellati, and many others. This week we will be discussing the house of iconic teal blue - Tiffany & Co. 

In this blog post you will learn: 

  • Tiffany & Co. History
  • Interesting Facts 
  • Vintage Tiffany & Co. Jewelry 
  • Modern Tiffany & Co. Jewelry

Tiffany & Co. History

Every dream starts with a dreamer. In 1838 Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902) and his partner, J.B Young founded the company as Tiffany & Young, a “fancy goods” store on Broadway, in the heart of New York City. The store immediately became successful, and in the 1840s, the founder Charles Lewis Tiffany introduced the famous Tiffany blue color. In 1853, he took sole control of the company and renamed the company Tiffany & Co. 

 The same year that the business acquired its world-recognized name “Tiffany & Co.” Charles Lewis Tiffany introduced a 9 foot Atlas clock above the Tiffany store. To this day, the clock adorns the entrance of the iconic 5th Avenue flagship store in New York and is the oldest public clock in Manhattan. 
Interesting Facts
 
 
The year 1886, became memorable in Tiffany’s history when they introduced the engagement ring as we know it today. Tiffany & Co. invented a setting for diamond solitaire rings, where the diamond was held by 6 invisible prongs, allowing the light to pass through the diamond and reflect more sparkle. 
Tiffany & Co is the first retailer to have a gemologist position on staff. The gem kunzite was discovered and named in honor of Tiffany’s Chief Gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz. He sourced numerous amounts of top quality gemstones, pearls, and materials, allowing Tiffany & Co to win several international jewelry exhibitions.
After his father's death in 1902, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany took over the company and became the first official Design Director. Charles became an influential figure in the Art Nouveau movement. His novel, colorful, and naturalistic aesthetic became a major inspiration for the brand and inspires the creators around the world to this day.

During the Art Deco period, in the 1920s-30s, Tiffany & Co’s American aesthetic gained popularity around the world and later evolved into the Retro cocktail style of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, which first triumphed at the 1939 World’s Fair.
In 1961, Tiffany & Co made its cinematic debut in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring the iconic Audrey Hepburn. The movie instantly became a Hollywood all-time favorite. Since then Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and Sweet Home Alabama(2002) were also shot in the world-recognized store. 

 Vintage Tiffany & Co. Jewelry

Tiffany & Co has been known to commission outstanding jewelry designers to develop some of the most iconic Tiffany & Co collections. In 1956, Tiffany invited the extraordinary designer Jean Schlumberger to open his own salon in the store, the first of a series of named designers. He was known for his lavish, whimsical designs, inspired by underwater creatures, animals, and plants of all sorts. His designs are desired for their playful use of enamel and precious gemstones. The world’s most fashionable women own Jean Schlumberger’s creations and we happen to have one of them for sale! 

Jewelry designers Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso joined Tiffany & Co in the 1970s and 1980s and designed some of the most beautiful and colorful Tiffany collections.

Paloma Picasso’s first Tiffany collection was inspired by the graffiti on Manhattan’s buildings during the ‘70s. She reimagined the city's street art into chic, luxurious, graphic jewelry that is extremely popular to this day.

At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve been curating rare and coveted jewelry for over 40 years. Tiffany & Co has always been one of our favorite designers. We regularly update our vintage jewelry collection with rare Tiffany & Co pieces. Here are some of our favorites (click on the image to learn more about the piece):

Modern Tiffany & Co. Jewelry

 The Return to Tiffany® key ring debut in 1969 inspired the most popular and best-selling Tiffany collection worldwide. Each one sold was assigned a serial number and registered so that if lost, it could be returned to the Tiffany flagship store on Fifth Avenue and reunited with its owner.

 

In 2009, Tiffany launched its epochal key collection. These symbols of opportunity are often drizzled with diamonds, rubies, or other gemstones. The charm, elegance, and whimsical design can last through generations and can gift the owner with extra strength. The Tiffany keys are a symbol of independence, eternal beauty, trust, power, and opportunities. Even the quintessential Upper East Side teenage drama show The Gossip Girl, featured Tiffany Keys a symbol of trust and membership to the elitist female social club.

In 2017, the 5th Avenue flagship store gifted visitors from around the world with the Blue Box Cafe, enabling everyone to enjoy Breakfast at Tiffany.

 

The Bottom Line

Favored by iconic figures like Audrey Hepburn, Tiffany & Co has established themselves as a leading American jewelry house, accepted and cherished worldwide. Classic, timeless, and recognizable, Tiffany will always be at the heart of the jewelry world. 

We are happy to carry rare, vintage Tiffany & Co jewelry pieces in our collection and help you find the jewel of your dreams! 

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