The History of Tiffany & Co
In a way, the world has Charles Lewis Tiffany’s father to thank for the enduring legacy and history of Tiffany and Co. The brand’s history begins with the shop he bankrolled for his son, which evolved into a leading luxury jewelry empire now approaching its 200th birthday! Below, we take a detailed look at the […]
In a way, the world has Charles Lewis Tiffany’s father to thank for the enduring legacy and history of Tiffany and Co. The brand’s history begins with the shop he bankrolled for his son, which evolved into a leading luxury jewelry empire now approaching its 200th birthday!
Below, we take a detailed look at the history of Tiffany & Co, and how the brand established itself as one of the world’s most iconic jewelry brands to date.
The History of Tiffany & Co
The Inception Of Tiffany
1837: Twenty-five-year-old founder Charles Lewis Tiffany borrows $1,000 from his dad. With his friend John B. Young, he opens Tiffany & Young, a small stationery and fancy goods store at 259 Broadway in New York City. It becomes the place for society ladies to shop, they seek out its jewels known for Tiffany & Young’s clean style. A marked departure from the Victorian era’s ostentatiousness.
The iconic Tiffany blue box is launched. The particular shade of blue will eventually be trademarked and will continue on as the brand’s signature color for bags, boxes, and more.
1845: Tiffany publishes not only its first catalogue but the first mail-order catalogue distributed in the United States. It still retains its original name, the “Blue Book” to the present day.
1848: Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Tiffany, is born in New York City. He becomes a talented, and professionally trained, artist, widely traveled, and skilled at painting and glassmaking. Louis will bring his colorful aesthetic to his father’s company with resoundingly popular results.
1851: Tiffany & Co. is the first company in America to use sterling silver of a high grade. This will go on to become the U.S. Sterling Standard.
1853: Charles assumes complete control of the business and renames it “Tiffany & Co.”
1867: The first American company to do so, Tiffany & Co. wins the Award for Excellence grand prize for silver craftsmanship at the Paris Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair).
The Tiffany Diamond and Setting
1878: Charles introduces the “Tiffany Diamond”. With 90 facets and weighing in at 128.54 carats, the high-quality yellow diamond is the world’s largest. Audrey Hepburn will later wear it set in a necklace in publicity shots for the enduring 1961 film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Today, the Tiffany Diamond can be seen at Tiffany’s flagship store.
1886: Charles creates the Tiffany setting for diamond engagement rings. Six prongs raise the diamond high, allowing light to dance off it.
Previously, diamonds were bezel set, meaning that only the crown of the diamond was visible. While secure, it drastically reduced the stone’s fire and sparkle. The revolutionary Tiffany setting remains a popular engagement ring setting to this day.
1887: Charles purchases one-third of the French Crown Jewels and receives the nickname “The King of Diamonds.” The jewels become available for purchase by American buyers.
1902: Charles dies. Louis Comfort Tiffany inherits a controlling interest in Tiffany and Company and assumes the position of the company’s first official Design Director.
Using innovations like glass, enamel, and gemstones puts him at the forefront of the growing Art Nouveau moment. He opens the Tiffany Artistic Jewelry department in the Fifth Avenue store where jewelry will be manufactured on site.
1926: The US government accepts Tiffany’s standard for platinum as its official standard.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
1940: The store moves to 57th Street in Manhattan.
1950: Publication of Truman Capote’s novel, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It quickly becomes a best-seller.
1961: The film version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” opens, starring Audrey Hepburn.
1963: Tiffany & Co. opens its second store in the United States, in San Francisco.
1972: Tiffany’s expansion continues at a fast pace with the opening of a store in Japan, their first overseas location.
1986: Tiffany moves into the European market with a store on London’s bustling Bond Street.
1987: In its 150th year, Tiffany & Co starts trading stock on the NY Stock Exchange.
The Era of Elsa Peretti
1974: Elsa Peretti brings a new, modern design aesthetic to Tiffany and will design for them for decades. Her Diamonds By The Yard® with bezel-set stones and delicate chains will reboot and revolutionize fashion jewelry.
2012: Tiffany & Co celebrate their 175th anniversary.
2017: Just like Holly Golightly in the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” now anyone can actually have breakfast at Tiffany’s — in its newly opened Blue Box Café!
2018: Tiffany debuts Tiffany True®, its first new engagement ring design in almost 10 years.
2020: With the launch of its Diamond Craft Journey, Tiffany becomes the first global luxury jewelry brand to enhance company transparency by disclosing details about its newly sourced diamonds and individually registered stones. Customers can find out where their diamond comes from, where it was cut, and more on its background.
2021: At the start of the new year, LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) purchases Tiffany & Co. for a dazzling $15.8 billion. This year also sadly marks the passing of Elsa Peretti and her 47 year legacy at the company.
With the history of Tiffany & Co. in mind, we share our expert tips for buying and selling Tiffany jewelry for the best prices.
Where to buy affordable Tiffany & Co. jewelry
Shop the most affordable Tiffany & Co. jewelry on the market by shopping pre-owned. Not only is it the most cost-effective way to source designer jewelry, it is also the most eco-friendly. When opting for used jewelry, you are contributing to the development of a sustainable, circular economy.
Browse a wide variety of pre-owned and expertly authenticated Tiffany jewelry at myGemma, all in excellent condition. Enjoy up to 80% off the designer brands you love, from Tiffany, to David Yurman to Rolex to Louis Vuitton.
How to sell Tiffany & Co. jewelry online
Our mission at WP Diamonds has always been to provide our clients with a simple and stress-free way to sell their luxury pieces online. In as little as 24 hours, our experts can value your designer jewelry and make you a final offer, from which no fees or commission are deducted. This free streamlined service has earned us an A+ BBB rating and over 1,000 customer reviews to date.
How it works:
- Complete the online form to receive your price quote
- We will then provide free shipping and insurance to send your luxury items in or you can schedule an in-person appointment (available in NYC, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the UK)
- You will be notified once your items arrive the following business day and be provided with a final price
- Accept our offer and receive payment in as little as one day, or we’ll return your items free of charge
Click on the button below to begin. We not only buy your Tiffany jewelry but we also purchase luxury handbags, sneakers, watches, and other designer jewelry.