Tiffany & Co.: founded in 1837

The 1830s in New York City were a time of dynamic growth, extravagant tastes and a golden opportunity for anyone with a little capital and an abundance of imagination.

In 1837, New York became the proving ground for twenty-five-year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, who opened a "stationery and fancy goods" store with a $1,000 advance from Tiffany's father.

On their way to the new emporium at 259 Broadway, fashionable ladies in silks, satins, and beribboned bonnets faced a gauntlet of narrow streets teeming with horses and carriages and the hurly-burly of city life.

At Tiffany & Co. they discovered a newly emerging "American style" that departed from the European design aesthetic, which was rooted in religious and ceremonial patterns and the Victorian era's mannered opulence.

The young entrepreneurs were inspired by the natural world, which they interpreted in exquisite patterns of simplicity, harmony and clarity. These became the hallmarks of Tiffany design, first in silver hollowware and flatware, and later in jewelry.

In 1878, Tiffany acquired one of the world's largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.

Under the guidance of Tiffany's eminent gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, the diamond was cut from 287.42 carats to 128.54 carats with 82 facets (most brilliant-cut diamonds have only 58), which gave the stone its legendary fire and brilliance. Designated the Tiffany Diamond, the stone became an exemplar of Tiffany craftsmanship.

In 1886, Tiffany introduced the engagement ring as we know it today - the Tiffany Setting - an innovation that lifts the diamond above the band with six platinum prongs, allowing a more complete return of light from the stone and maximizing its brilliance.

Today, the Tiffany Setting continues as one of the most popular engagement ring styles and shining symbol of the jeweler's diamond authority.

The legendary style of Tiffany design is perhaps best represented by the annual Blue Book Collection, featuring Tiffany's and the world's most spectacular and glamorous jewels.

Initially published in 1845, the Tiffany Blue Book was the first such catalogue to be distributed in the U.S. Today's version showcases the elite of diamonds and colored gemstones in custom-designed settings, crafted with time-honored jewelry techniques and inspired by jewels in the Tiffany & Co. Archives.


Official Website

www.tiffany.com