Tiffany & Co. Jewelry: History & Timeless Designs

Updated April 27, 2021
Tiffany box

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have fantasized about stepping foot in a Tiffany jewelry store and walking out with their own little blue box. The iconic jeweler has surpassed its accessories legacy and transcended into a pop culture legend. For nearly over a hundred and fifty years, Tiffany & Co. has been defining the fine jewelry business.

Tiffany & Co. History

Take a look at the interesting journey that has transpired over Tiffany & Co.'s nearly 150-year existence and see what things helped nudge the fledging 19th century business toward the path that made it become the jewelry titan you know and love today.

Early History

Tiffany & Company began in 1837 as Tiffany & Young, named after its founders Charles Tiffany and John Young. This initial New York City business dealt in stationary and fine goods and was unique at the time for its nonnegotiable price tags. This same year, Tiffany introduced the distinctive shade of 'Tiffany' blue that the company would become synonymous with. In 1853, Tiffany took over the business and renamed it Tiffany & Co. whilst moving the company in the fine jewelry and silver direction.

Tiffany Diamonds and the Late 19th Century

In 1878, Charles Tiffany bought the Tiffany Diamond, one of the largest yellow diamonds ever harvested. The original stone was cut to 128.51 carats with 90 facets and has been worn around the necks of both Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga. Soon after this acquisition, the company developed a new ring setting which lifted the gemstones out of the band using six individual prongs and helped the company garner significant acclaim.

Tiffany Enters the 20th Century

Assuming leadership of his own company, Tiffany Studios, in 1902, Charles Tiffany's son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, ushered the jewelry magnate into the 20th century by highlighting artistry and innovation. He was highly inspired by the Art Nouveau aesthetic and as a well-known glass artist he created custom Tiffany lighting that would go on to become wildly famous. By the mid-century, the main company was producing more than just jewelry, such as unique dining ware and porcelain cache pots. All of these developments cemented Tiffany & Co. as one of the major jewelry competitors of the 20th century, as it still remains to this day.

Tiffany & Co.'s Jewelry Inventory

Perhaps Tiffany & Co's most notable product is its high quality, upscale jewelry. The social elite have been purchasing Tiffany jewelry for decades including the company's major accessory categories in their current inventory.

  • Designer - The company partners with top designers like Frank Gehry, Paloma Picasso, Jean Sclumberger, and Elsa Peretti, to create extraordinary jewelry for their high-end clients.
  • Engagement Rings - Tiffany offers engagement rings in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, cuts, and settings.
  • Silver - From dinnerware to jewelry, the company's well-known for its various silver products.
  • Men's Jewelry - Tiffany's masculine jewelry encompasses items like cuff links, chains, leather necklaces, watches, titanium jewelry, and more.
  • Brooches - Tiffany brooches come in myriad styles ranging from classic floral patterns to whimsical lobsters and dragonflies.
  • Pearls - The company offers many different types of classic pearl jewelry.
  • Charms - Tailor-made for the younger clientele, the company sells gold charms in shapes like apples, cameras, birthday cakes, and so much more.
  • Wedding Bands - Well-crafted and long-lasting Tiffany wedding bands are elegant and sturdy.
Tiffany's jewelry

Tiffany Jewelry's Price Points

Unfortunately, with nearly a century and a half of business under their belt and a high-priced clientele, Tiffany & Co.'s jewelry is not considered very affordable by most people's standard. Given that individual charms the size of nickel cost anywhere between $300-$1,200, it's not surprising that Tiffany jewelry's gained an exclusive and elitist reputation. While they do have specialized web pages for jewelry under $500 and jewelry under $1,500, it's altogether understood that you're going to spend a few thousand dollars on any piece from Tiffany's at the minimum. So, you have to go into purchasing a Tiffany piece knowing that it's a substantial financial investment.

Where to Buy Tiffany Jewelry

While Tiffany & Co. does have brick-and-mortar stores around the world, a majority of people purchase their jewelry online (especially if they know exactly the piece that they want) either through Tiffany & Co.'s website or through auction websites. Choosing to purchase antique or vintage Tiffany jewelry might not cut down on your overall costs, but it can help you get a unique piece which you won't find circulating around today. You can also look for cheaper Tiffany jewelry through estate auctions and consignment sales, where a lot of high-quality goods are sold for a fraction of their worth. Of course, you and your friends can always make an entire trip out of visiting their iconic Fifth Avenue location to purchase that accessory of your dreams.

Little Blue Box and Popular Culture

Due to its long history and deep connections to the social elite, Tiffany & Co. grew to be entrenched in American culture, popping up in the media, on red carpets, and scattered throughout the pages of fashion magazines. The mid-century found Tiffany & Co. designing the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy, having a custom brooch be gifted to Jacklyn Kennedy by her President husband after her son's birth, as well as appearing in perhaps its best known role as a fixture in the plot of the smash hit film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Most recently, the Tiffany diamond resurfaced around Lady Gaga's neck as she attended the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony. By the 21st century, Tiffany & Co. has become much more than just a jewelry and accessories store; its mere name has become synonymous with refinement and class.

Signature Tiffany Co. Blue Box

Jump in a Cab and Go To Tiffany's

Whether you spent your youth fantasizing about playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's or have collected Tiffany charms since you were a kid, Tiffany & Co. has been a part of both yours and so many other's lives. From jewelry innovations to expert branding campaigns, Tiffany & Co. has adapted to every change that the years have presented and continues to persevere.

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Tiffany & Co. Jewelry: History & Timeless Designs