The Tiffany jewellery brand dates back to 1837 when a ‘stationery and fancy goods emporium’ was opened by Charles Lewis Tiffany and his partner John B. Young in Manhattan, trading as ‘Tiffany, Young and Ellis’. Now America’s foremost luxury jewellery brand, Tiffany and Co have been responsible for many innovations over the years, including the institution, in 1851, of the 925/1000 sterling silver standard.
In 1845, Tiffany’s produced their ‘Blue Book’, listing goods for sale. This book, still produced today, was America’s first mail-order catalogue. In 1848, the firm was able to buy a large quantity of French diamonds from nobles fleeing the revolution, and from then on the firm specialised in these precious stones. On Charles Tiffany's death in 1902, his son Louis Comfort Tiffany was made head of design and set about developing jewellery designed inspired by nature and using glass, coloured gemstones and enamel as a palate. When Louis died in 1933, the company had no design director until 1955 - when Van Day Truex was appointed. Around the same time, Tiffany’s famous designer Jean Schlumberger joined the team and began producing pieces inspired by his love of animal and bird motifs. Tiffany & Co continue to this day, and the name is still synonymous with elegance, style and quality.
Tiffany & Co went through several phases in its design history, including Art Nouveau, Japanese-influenced, naturalistic and animal motifs, and good examples from any of these periods are extremely sought after. The iconic Tiffany blue box has become almost as well known as the jewellery itself, as the firm has always had a policy of supplying them only with purchases, so pieces retaining their original wrapping will command a premium. Tiffany jewellery has always been greatly admired for its quality and innovative design, and there’s a lot of interest among collectors. Iconic and instantly-recognisable pieces such as the classic bangles beloved of Jackie Kennedy are particularly sought after, but there’s a strong market for most Tiffany pieces.
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