It is really hard to find another company with such an iconic heritage as popular jewellery and luxury goods manufacturer as Tiffany & Co. With the brand celebrating its 185 years next year it is worth to take a closer look at its history.
Tiffany’s was founded in September 1837 by a jeweller Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young as "stationery and fancy goods emporium". With the financial help of Charles Tiffany’s father who borrowed them $1000, the entrepreneurs could open their first New York stationary store at 259 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The store went by the name “Tiffany, Young and Ellis” and offered a wide variety of items such as glassware, porcelain, cutlery, clocks and jewellery. By 1841, the store had established a reputation for selling only the goods of finest quality and specialized in Bohemian glass and porcelain. What i interesting about that time is that already then all the items sold in the store were fixed to prevent haggling, and you could only pay with cash. Around that time Tiffany also began to manufacture their own jewellery. Using Charles Tiffany's jewellery expertise, the company invested in diamonds that dropped down in price due to the political situation in Europe. It turned out that this move would return a great profit just a few years later, and allowed the company to spread its wings.
The iconic blue-green color known today as Tiffany blue was chosen by Charles Lewis company around 1845 and the colour for their jewellery and packaging. Little did they know that years later the boxes and especially what was in them would make many ladies hearts beat faster. Tiffany’s engagement solitaire diamond rings are a classic and one of their top sellers year by year. At the same time Tiffany blue was created, the company introduced their first mail order catalogue. “Blue Book” has been published every year since then and is a major event in the jewellery industry, showing the company's new products and designs.
"Little did they know that years later the boxes and especially what was in them would make many ladies hearts beat faster. Tiffany’s engagement solitaire diamond rings are a classic and one of their top sellers year by year"
Charles Lewis Tiffany’s son, Louis Comfort Tiffany was already an established and successful Art Nouveau artist highly skilled in jewellery design, ceramics, enamels, and metalwork . He is most famous for his beautiful stained-glass designs where he used opalescent glass in a variety of colours and textures, he created a stunning range of jewel-like Art Nouveau works such as his iconic lamps and windows. In 1902 when his father died, it was Louis Comfort Tiffany who became the company's first design director. His works from this time are like homage to nature's forms and vibrant colors.
In 1940, Tiffany’s flagship New York store opened at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, in the area which later became a city’s main luxury shopping destination. With the help of Gene Moore, a talented designer and a window dresser, stored big windows were like a mini-theaters displaying Tiffany’s products in a magical way. The collaboration with famous and celebrated artists led to Tiffany’s silver screen debut in 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Everyone knows the iconic scene where Holly Golightly portrayed by Audrey Hepburn sips her coffee looking into Tiffany’s store windows. Although it took 50 years after the movie premiered, today all the Holly Golightly fans can actually treat themselves to a real breakfast at Tiffany’s in their BlueBox Café on the fourth floor of their flagship store. Other movies starring Tiffany are Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002).
Through the years Tiffany’s and Co. cultivated the collaboration with the world’s most talented designers and artists including Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti , John Loring, Paloma Picasso. Through the years they made innovative additions to the jewellery industry by including newly discovered gems such as kunzite, morganite and tanzanite and metals. Their range of products also grew adding their home decor line and a signature fragrance. They continue to work closely with world famous stars, including recent collaborations with Beyoncé and Jay Z, which sparked some criticism over the Basquiat artwork used in their commercial spot.
If you own something from Tiffany's you can always be sure you own a unique, often handmade piece, that will last you long years, and will be a perfect gift to pass on your children and grandchildren. Market for Tiffany is always strong because those pieces never go out of fashion.