Tiffany & Co
The leading American jewelry firm, founded in New York City in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902) with John B. Young, the firm then selling miscellaneous inexpensive wares, but soon thereafter expanding to offer jewelry, diamonds, and watches.
In 1841 J. L. Ellis became a partner, and Tiffany and Young travelled in Europe, buying large and important collections of jewelry. In 1853 Tiffany acquired the entire firm, thence known as Tiffany & Co. In 1850 it introduced the English Sterling Silver standard which later was legalized for American Sterling silverware.
In 1868 it merged with Edward C. Moore & Co., silversmiths; Moore, who had been a Tiffany designer since 1851, influenced the introduction of Japanese styles.
In 1886 Tiffany introduced the TIFFANY SETTING for diamond solitaire finger rings. His son, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1844-1933), an early exponent of the art nuveau style, introduced c. 1892 his Favrile iridescent glassware, and c. 1900 joined the firm.
In 1940 the firm, having acquired an international reputation for jewelry, gemstones, and silverware, moved to its present luxurious premises at 5th Ave. and 57th St. Walter Hoving, who in 1955 assumed control from the Tiffany and Moore families, has retired. Henry B. Piatt (the great-great-grandson of Charles Tiffany), now Chairman of the Board, was responsible for the discovery and naming of TANZANITE in 1968. Branches of the firm are in several American cities, as well as in Paris (since 1850) and London (since 1868).
Articles of jewelry made by TIFFANY & CO., including that made after 1848 under the founder Charles L. Tiffany and later under his son Louis Comfort Tiffany (1844-1933) and his several successor companies.
The latter after 1892 made jewelry of Favrile glass and the various other types of glass developed by him; after he took over direction of the jewelry workshops in 1902, jewelry became a major part of the firm’s business.
In 1956 JEAN SCHLUMBERGER was engaged as Special Designer of jewelry, being given his own studio. The present Design Editor is John Loring, and the leading staff designers are Elsa Peretti (b. 1940), creator of ‘Diamonds by the Yard’ (gold chains interspersed with diamonds) and of jewels of ebony and ivory; Angela Cummings (b. 1944), featuring diamonds set in exotic varieties of wood; and, since 1979, Paloma Picasso (b. 1949).
Schlumberger, Jean (1907-87).
A designer of luxury jewelry. Born in Alsace, his first venture in jewelry was mounting porcelain flowers on dips. After designing costume jewelry for couturiere Elsa Schiaparelli, he was sponsored by her and patronized by wealthy socialites.
In 1946 he opened his own salon in New York City for high-fashion clothes and jewelry, and in 1956 became associated with TIFFANY & co., being made the director of a special designing department. He revived old methods of enamelling and created new styles for jewelry set with expensive gemstones, designing jewels of exotic form and very high cost.
A canary-yellow diamond (largest known of such colour) weighing 128.51 carats and cut from a rough diamond weighing 287.42 carats that is believed to have been found in 1878 in the Kimberley Mine in South Africa. It is cushion cut, cut in Paris with 90 facets, having 40 facets on the CROWN, 48 on the pavilion, a table, and a culet, the 32 facets more than the standard brilliant giving it extraordinary brilliance and fire.
It was immediately purchased and is still owned by TIFFANY & CO., New York City, which has had it displayed at several exhibitions and continuously at its shop in New York City (valued in 1978 at $7,000,000).
It was first worn in 1957 at the Tiffany Ball at Newport, Rhode Island, by Mrs Sheldon Whitehouse, set in a necklace of white diamonds. It is now mounted in a clip of platinum with touches of gold, designed by JEAN SCHLUMBERGER.
A style of SETTING a solitaire in a finger ring, the stone being secured by prongs cut into a small tubular holder that is set into the shank of the ring so as to extend somewhat above the circumference, with the bent prongs extending slightly over the GIRDLE of the stone.
This setting is usually used for a diamond or other transparent stone. It was introduced by Charles L. Tiffany in 1886.