Do you know that empty Tiffany jewelry boxes are actually prohibited from being sold on many online auction sites? Due to intellectual property laws, it can be very difficult to find an empty blue box available for purchase.
The Packaging of Tiffany & Co.
In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany opened one of the most successful luxury businesses in United States history, a store that eventually became the well-respected Tiffany & Co. Recognizing that packaging is an important part of brand identification, Tiffany immediately insisted that all of the store's merchandise be presented in beautiful blue gift boxes. He further decreed that all blue gift boxes would be the same shade, a color similar to the hue of a robin's egg. Eventually, "Tiffany Blue" became a registered trademark of Tiffany & Co.
For more than 170 years, the luxurious jewelry and merchandise offered by Tiffany & Co. has been associated with these blue boxes. Each authentic Tiffany gift item is packaged in this blue box, tied with a white satin ribbon, and topped with the Tiffany logo.
There are several reasons you may want to buy an empty Tiffany box. You may have a Tiffany jewelry piece you want to present in the original packaging, or you may want to give a luxurious appearance to a piece not made by the famed jeweler. Regardless of your reason, you may find it challenging to get your hands on one of these beautiful blue boxes.
The Value of an Empty Box
While the iconic blue boxes will never be worth as much as their contents, they actually hold some value on their own. Some experts estimate that an authentic blue Tiffany box is worth between $10 and $30, depending on its age and condition.
For many people, buying or receiving a Tiffany gift means keeping the special box as a memento. However, for others, the jewelry itself is the only thing that represents any personal value, and the box is simply something that can be sold in an online auction. There are plenty of potential buyers out there, and it would seems supply and demand would translate into a steady stream of Tiffany boxes available for sale on auction sites.
However, buying and selling Tiffany boxes online presents something of a challenge. In 2004, Tiffany & Co. brought a court case against online auction site eBay. They claimed that the trade in fake Tiffany items and empty packaging materials represented an intellectual property infringement. This case and similar suits dragged on for many years, finally resulting in an eBay policy that prohibits sales of empty Tiffany packaging.
Buying Empty Tiffany Jewelry Boxes
Are you wondering what this court case and the eBay policy mean for potential buyers of Tiffany packaging materials? It doesn't make buying a Tiffany box impossible, but it does make it a lot harder. eBay and other online auction sites make a practice of closing listings for Tiffany boxes. This means you may be able to bid on the item for sale, but it's unlikely you'll be able to complete the auction. If you want to buy a Tiffany box, you'll have to try another method.
Here are a few possibilities:
- Newspaper classified ads
- Craigslist and other online classified sites
- Internet message boards
- Word of mouth
- Garage sales and flea markets
Advice for Sellers
If you choose to sell empty Tiffany jewelry boxes using one of these methods, use caution. Depending on the wording of your ad, the images you use to promote it, and the authenticity of the box itself, you may make yourself vulnerable to legal action from Tiffany & Co. While you might be able to make a few bucks selling the box, it likely won't be worth the stress of trying to protect yourself legally.