Tiffany and Co
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Brilliant History of Tiffany and Co Jewelry

By Catherine Kim
Shop Tiffany and Co jewelry, Available for Immediate Purchase

Early History of Tiffany and Co

In its nearly 200-year history, Tiffany and Co has grown to become the quintessential American jeweler with a worldwide reputation for glamour and style. Founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812–1902) and his partner, J. B Young, as Tiffany & Young, a “fancy goods” store on Broadway in New York. Sales from the first day totaled $4.98. Tiffany also published the first direct mail catalog in 1845 called the Blue Book Collection. Charles Lewis Tiffany took sole control in of the company in 1853 when the business was renamed Tiffany & Co. In 1868 Tiffany and co started making gold fashion jewelry and in 1866 the first stopwatch introduced call the Tiffany Timer.

Charles Lewis Tiffany. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Tiffany Blue

In the 1940s, Charles Lewis Tiffany introduced the now iconic signature color blue that remains synonymous with the brand. The iconic robin's egg blue was eventually trademarked as Tiffany Blue in 1998. In 2001, Tiffany Blue was standardized as a custom color created by Pantone exclusively for Tiffany called "1837 Blue" named after the year Tiffany was founded.

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond. Alamy Stock Photo.

Tiffany Diamond

In 1870, Tiffany and Co moved to a palatial store in Union Square, becoming the destination for New York’s fashionable and wealthy elite. Developing its own design identity, Tiffany was known for Japonesque-style silverware and for diamond jewelry: Charles Tiffany became the “King of Diamonds.” In 1878, Charles Lewis Tiffany purchased a 278.42 caret fancy yellow diamond. The following year it was cut into a 128.54 carat stone and named the Tiffany Diamond. The Tiffany Diamond is one of the world's largest fancy yellow diamond.

Tiffany 5 Carat Engagement Ring

Tiffany Setting

In 1886, the Tiffany Setting for diamond solitaire rings was introduced. The Tiffany six prong setting won numerous awards at international exhibitions for virtually hiding the prongs so the diamond appeared to be almost floating above the band. This the classic Tiffany setting remains one of the most popular styles for engagement rings today.

Tiffany and Co.'s flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York. Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tiffany and Co moved to its current global flagship store at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in 1940. This location would make its film debut in the iconic 1961 Breakfast at Tiffany's. The movie staring Audrey Hepburn was the first movie filmed inside the Tiffany flagship store.

Paloma Picasso introducing her collection in 1980. Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images.

Iconic Tiffany and Co Jewelry Designers

Tiffany Schlumberger Bird on a Rock

Tiffany Schlumberger

In 1956, Chairman Walter Hoving invited the extraordinarily talented designer-jeweller, Jean Schlumberger, to open his own salon in the store, the first of a series of named designers. Tiffany Schlumberger rings and other jewelry are recognizable for being whimsical and coveted for the imaginative use of gemstones and diamonds. Tiffany Schlumberger Bird on a Rock was first designed in 1965 and remains one an iconic design that is highly sought after in the secondary market.

Elsa Peretti Tiffany Bone Cuff

Elsa Perertti Tiffany

Elsa Peretti joined Tiffany in 1974 and introduced bold sculptural designs including her iconic Tiffany Bone Cuff. Miley Cyrus wore a Tiffany Peretti Bone cuff in 18K gold to accept her 2024 Grammy award. Elsa Peretti is also known for her Diamonds by the Yard, Open Heart and Bean Tiffany jewelry.

Paloma Picasso Tiffany X Cuff

Paloma Picasso Tiffany

Paloma Picasso first Tiffany collection launched in 1980. Paloma Picasso Tiffany jewelry took inspiration from the graffiti on New York City buildings. Paloma Picasso Tiffany collections also include Olive Leaf designs, Melody bangles and X designs.

Acquisition by LVMH

In 2021, LVMH completed the acquisition of Tiffany and Co for $15.8 billion. In a nod to Tiffany and Co's past, LVMH created an ad campaign and included several elements that are iconic to the brand. Soon after the acquisition, Beyonce and husband Jay-Z stared in an ad campaign with Jean-Michel Basquiat "Equals Pi" painting. The painting features a blue back drop that is similar to Tiffany and Co jewelry boxes in Tiffany Blue. Beyonce also covers "Moon River" the song from the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's staring Audrey Hepburn.

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