What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of Tiffany & Co.? Audrey Hepburn nibbling a croissant while gazing into the store’s windows? An Elsa Peretti bone cuff perfectly adhering to a wrist? Beyoncé wearing the Tiffany Diamond? Tiffany & Co. has been a quintessentially American institution since its founding in 1837, first bringing gemstones to the United States and then revolutionizing the concept of fine jewelry.
A Brief History of Tiffany & Co.
In 1837 Charles Lewis Tiffany opened a storefront in New York City to sell “fancy goods and stationery.” Tiffany began purchasing jewels from French aristocrats, bringing them back to the United States to sell directly to his elite customers. In 1845 Tiffany & Co. published a direct mail catalog known as the “Blue Book,” giving these wealthy Americans the opportunity to easily purchase the jewelry Tiffany had to offer. Prior to this, quality gemstones were not available in the United States, and so the press dubbed Charles Tiffany the “King of Diamonds.”
Throughout the 19th century Tiffany & Co. flourished. In the span of several decades Tiffany set the .925 sterling silver standard, began producing gold fashion jewelry, and even redesigned the Great Seal on the dollar bill. In 1886 Charles Tiffany changed the jewelry world forever by creating the Tiffany Setting, a six-prong setting which causes the diamond to appear to float above the ring band. Essentially inventing the modern engagement ring, Tiffany & Co. established itself as a premier jeweler, not only of America but of the world.
By the latter half of the 20th century Tiffany & Co. was a household name. The 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the 1969 debut of the “Return to Tiffany” key ring turned the company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue into a landmark. Now synonymous with American fine jewelry, Tiffany & Co. could attract unique designers from around the world.
Elsa Peretti, an Italian model turned jewelry designer, began working for Tiffany & Co. in 1974. Michael Kowalski, a former Tiffany CEO, is quoted as saying, “The day Elsa Peretti became a part of Tiffany & Co. was the day we entered a new era in our history of design innovation.” And enter a new era they did. Peretti, a frequent collaborator with Halston, revolutionized the very idea of what fine jewelry could be. Her designs were minimalist, focused on natural form and fluidity rather than extravagant opulence. Peretti favored sterling silver over the more traditional gold, elevating the fine metal to new heights. The Bone cuff, a bracelet sculpted to fit the left and right wrists, and the delicately curved Bean pedant, are indicative of Peretti’s edgy, elegant designs. So too is her Diamonds by the Yard collection, which displays diamonds as delicate and understated. Peretti’s timeless designs so captivated the fine jewelry world that Vogue referred to her pieces as “jewelry as sculpture, sculpture as jewelry, and the most sensuous jewelry in the world.”
In 1980 Tiffany & Co. began working with Paloma Picasso, a jewelry designer who captured the essence of contemporary New York City. The daughter of Pablo Picasso, Paloma Picasso worked as a designer in Europe before starting her collection with Tiffany. Picasso was inspired by the graffiti throughout New York City, and elevated the street art with her collection Paloma’s Graffiti. With words like “Love,” “Kiss,” and “Peace” rendered in fine metals and studded with diamonds, Picasso transformed maligned graffiti into fine jewelry.
Picasso also designed pieces that showcased the very ‘80s love of bold, colorful jewelry. Taking full advantage of Tiffany’s large inventory, Picasso created rings, earrings, and necklaces with geometric, colorful gemstones. Picasso’s playful, eye-catching collection proved that diamonds are not the only stone that can be a girl’s best friend.
Shop Tiffany & Co. at Luxury Garage Sale
Tiffany & Co. continues to set the standard for luxury jewelry, creating pieces that are unique, playful, and always made of the highest quality metals, gemstones, and diamonds. Whether you are looking for an Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff, a Paloma Picasso Scribble brooch, or a Jean Schlumburger X ring, you can never go wrong with jewelry from Tiffany & Co. Shop our ever-growing selection, or contact a personal shopper who will let you know when the Tiffany of your dreams comes in.
Luxury Garage Sale is an upscale resale company specializing in high-end women’s fashion from designers like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Authenticity and excellent service are always guaranteed. Shop handbags, shoes, clothing, and more at up to 90% off retail prices.