On September 14,1837 Charles Lewis Tiffany opened a small store at 259 Broadway in New York. It was advertised as a ‘stationery and fancy goods emporium,’ but by 1853 the company began to specialise in diamond jewellery. The Tiffany & Co. flagship store is currently located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street in New York. This location opened its doors to the public on October 21, 1940, and is constructed of limestone and granite with Art Deco influences and stainless steel doors. The front of the store features a nine foot bronze statue of the Greek titan, Atlas, holding a clock on his shoulders.
Shortly after its inception, Tiffany began to attract shoppers who were willing to pay high prices for unique and luxurious items. The company’s growth has continued and some of the events which have contributed to this include:
1877 – A large yellow diamond was unearthed from the Kimberley Mines in South Africa and purchased by Charles Tiffany a year later. Originally 287 carats, it was cut to 128.54 carats to release its brilliance and named ‘The Tiffany Diamond.’ After being displayed in several other pieces over the years, the diamond is currently mounted in a necklace made to celebrate the store’s 175th anniversary. It is displayed on the main floor of the Tiffany & Co. flagship store in New York.
1886 – Charles Tiffany invented the tiffany setting for diamonds which is still the most popular engagement ring setting. The company is also responsible for releasing the Lucida cut in 1999, after decades of development.
1887 – The world was shocked when Charles Tiffany purchased the French Crown Jewels. The press crowned him ‘King of Diamonds,’ and this helped to solidify the reputation the company has for selling high quality diamonds. After the death of Charles Tiffany, his son Louis Comfort Tiffany, became the company’s first design director in 1902.
1919 – Tiffany & Co. becomes of service to the United States military when they redesign The Medal of Honor. The company is also responsible for making the NFL Vince Lombardi trophy each year, since the first Super Bowl in 1967.
2000 – The Tiffany & Co. Foundation was established with the mission of environmental preservation and social responsibility. It provides grants for nonprofit organisations working in entertainment and the arts.
The company’s standards that were put on sterling silver and platinum have also been adopted as the US standards for jewellery construction. In addition, one of their gemologists, George Frederick Kunz, was instrumental in the use of the metric carat as the standard weight for gems. As well as jewellery, Tiffany & Co. still continues to sell china, crystal, stationery, perfumes and other luxury items.