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Tiffany’s, a brilliant story

December 11, 2014


Truman Capote wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” best-selling novel. It’s been over 50 years since Audrey Hepburn take breakfast at Tiffany’s, “the best place in the world, where nothing bad can happen”, thought before the window every morning watched fascinated.

He claimed her character Holly Golightly in the film of the same name. Since 1940 its flagship is on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan. That store, scene of films like Hepburn or “Sweet Home Alabama” (2002), is a “top of mind” Luxury, an inevitable reference to the most inaccessible dreams.


His jewellery and designs have first ladies swoon, divas and aristocrats since Charles Lewis Tiffany opened its first store in 1837 in New York. It all started 175 years ago, when the young Charles Lewis Tiffany opened a stationery store.



As your partner was John B. Young, the firm was named the top Tiffany & Young and was born with a loan of $ 1000, Lewis asked his father. During its first day of opening, September 21, 1837, sales were $ 4.98, confirming that the future is always born small. In fact, Tiffany & Young prospered as the favourite store of New Yorkers seeking exotic objects that Tiffany bought from the ships returning to New York and Boston from distant ports.


It is easy to recognize the place thanks to the flag over the building and the clock above the main entrance, complete with the mythological figure of Atlas-foot bronze coated wood. Polished granite facade is famous for its five small windows, like five pockets of magnificent castle of gemmology, repeated today by the 200 stores around the world.


Facade jewellery on Fifth Avenue.


When fell in 1848 the monarchy of Louis Philippe in France, Charles smiled luck, because the French aristocrats stampeded out and offered their diamond hard cash. Tiffany took the opportunity and risked the benefits of the company in a stash of diamonds. The press christened Charles as “King of Diamonds”: the boutique was already then the best American jewellery. His nose for business was authentic hound and in 1858 took another blow. He bought 32 kilometres of cable Cyrus W. Field-the entrepreneur who created the Atlantic Telegraph Company and made the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic-Ocean, cut into pieces of four inches (about 10 centimetres) and decorated with a termination brass.

Other parts turned them into paperweights, canes, umbrella handles and fobs. The day went on sale souvenirs at the headquarters of the company, at 259 Broadway, police had to control the crowds demanding their memorabilia for a nonnegotiable price: a revolution for the time you created trend.


Charles L. Tiffany could afford these strategies and more in the 1870s, when capitalism became wild. A group of industrial magnates, emerged from the rubble of the Civil War, amassed unimaginable fortunes with the connivance of Washington. The presidency of war hero, U. Grant, was the most corrupt in history, even when it is probable that he did not stain your hands. The Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie Morgano raged through the country as a natural aristocracy.


So, Charles L. Tiffany saw his tent packed with stylish women who came in carriages and horses discovered in Tiffany & Co. the “American style” that was emerging as a transcript of Europeans opulent Victorian prints. These exquisite designs, simple and harmonic, became the hallmark of objects Tiffany, who won his first international recognition in the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867.

But 15 years earlier, the firm had become the first American company to apply the standard 925/1000 on -pieces whose main material silver was 92.5% and the rest a copper or nickel . Such was the success that in 1926 the standard was adopted as the official country.

It was neither the first nor the only company contribution to national identity during the Civil War (1861-1865) manufactured swords, flags and orthopaedic implants for the army, and Lincoln bought a pearl necklace seed for his wife, Mary Todd. In 1885 Tiffany redesigned the Great Seal (US shield) we can still see on the dollar bills.



These innovations replicate the spirit of the founder, in traditional ways (always dressed in coat and silk hat, was walking to work and never missed a disease) and innovative businesses.

Tiffany y.o gallery magazine

An example was the introduction of coloured gemstones. Another, the catalogue Tiffany’s Blue Book, which was first published in 1845 and, in 1878, showed on its cover particular shade of blue forget-me is now known worldwide as Tiffany Blue.

necklace Tiffany y.o gallery magazine

In 1876 he bought an exceptional tourmaline the famous gemmologist George Frederick Kunz who shortly afterwards collaborated with Tiffany in finding the best gemstones worldwide. In Kimberley, South Africa mines, they discovered a spectacular yellow diamond of 287.42 carats; Charles Tiffany bought it for 14,000 Euros and sent carve cushion shaped weighing 128.54 carats and 82facetas. Shone as if a flame inside. Today is exposed in the store on Fifth Avenue. Only two women have had the privilege of wearing the stunning diamond Tiffany: British moralist Mary Whitehouse, at a dance at Newport, and Audrey Hepburn, for the promotion of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.


But his most successful innovation Charles made in 1886: the engagement ring is now known as Tiffany Setting, an innovation that, with its six platinum teeth, maximizes the brilliance of the stone. Young Franklin Roosevelt bought one in 1904. Today it remains the best hallmark of the brand and the symbol of its hegemony.



One of the emblematic pieces, the Tiffany Setting, an engagement ring.

Throughout history they have been part of their clientele the Vanderbilt, Astor, Guggenheim, Seligman, Whitney, Havemeyer or JP Morgan; but also artists like Scott Fitzgerald or philanthropists such as Paul Mellon, who commissioned Tiffany vessels of gold and silver. Fans of the actress Lillian Russell entrusted silver bike for their diva. The Russian Prince Alexander Bariatinsky buying diamonds there he gave to his wife, Lina Cavalieri.

Lina Cavalieri - y.ogallerymagazine

Lina Cavalieri

These celebrities and successes of the brand in the Universal Exhibitions were the springboard for the company to become a supplier of the Ottoman emperors, tsars and other crowned heads. Today, 177 years after his birth, Tiffany & Co. is still reinventing. For his birthday has patented a new alloy metals, Rubedo, whose name evokes the medieval mythology and mystical union of soul and body. The commemorative collection “1837 Rubedo” has the signature of Charles Lewis Tiffany recorded in all its parts, wonderful and expensive, of course.

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“Love Stories Tiffany’s”

d-6001Tiffany y.o gallery magazine

a-6001Tiffany y.o gallery magazine


Tiffany y.o gallery magazine


Brooch Bird on a Rock cut aquamarine and emerald. Bracelet red enamel, gold and platinum. Earrings model Flame (gold, diamonds and platinum), and Ring Blue Bock Collection (2014)


“If there were no women would not exist Tiffany though because money cannot buy happiness, it can buy some consolation. At least I had to think Marilyn Monroe when in” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes “sang that” diamonds are a girl’s best friend “.

By Elia Requena




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