When you think glamour in jewellery, you think Tiffany & Co. The brand is a little more than 180 years old, having been founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837, and aside from its renowned design prowess enjoys a legendary reputation even today. From Audrey Hepburn in 1961 to Ariana Grande in 2019, the cultural relevance it has maintained through the generations cannot be seen in most other brands its age.
With a history as rich as this, it was about time that the world got a see the magical world of Tiffany’s. And this takes form in Vision & Virtuosity, an exhibition newly opened at the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai, China.
Giving visitors an exclusive deep-dive into The Tiffany Archive, the exhibition was christened keeping in mind the two ideals that, according to the company’s CEO Alessandro Bogliolo, lie at the heart of the brand. In a first of its kind for Tiffany’s, the exhibition showcases the objects, stories, colours, and settings that make up its past, present and future. An experiential journey through time, it is divided into six chapters, or themes that have played a big role within the brand and its growth. Each chapter is dedicated a room.
The showcase starts off with Blue Is the Color of Dreams. If there’s one thing about Tiffany & Co. that is as recognisable as its dazzling pieces of jewellery; it is the Tiffany Blue®. First used on the cover of the original Tiffany Blue Book in 1845, this distinctive light medium shade of robin egg blue, is a trademarked colour that the brand has since used for almost all its promotional materials; from bags to boxes. Another blue that is dear to Tiffany’s is the gemstone tanzanite, which the brand renamed from its scientific “blue zoisite” and then popularised globally, with its original campaign advertising that the stone could only be found “in Tanzania and at Tiffany’s”. Also featured in this room is the Montana sapphire.
Moving on to The World of Tiffany, visitors get a visual representation of the extent of the brand’s position in popular culture through various mediums including film, television, music and literature. Not only that, the room also illustrates important moments like the construction of Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue, New York City, and the times important public figures donned pieces of their jewellery. Possibly the most identifiable and desired packaging in the retail world, the Tiffany Blue Box® has kept up with the times; the evolution of which has also been depicted in this room.
The Tiffany Blue Book room takes on the annual catalogue that features some of the most exquisite jewellery designed in the world, which also leads to the Blue Book collection that includes high jewellery designs by Jean Schlumberger and Elsa Peretti. From the first mail order catalogue in 1845 to the current collection by Tiffany & Co. chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff, the displays make it easy to observe the values of innovation and craftsmanship that take centre stage throughout.
There are few embodiments of romance as impactful as jewellery presented to the person you adore, and Tiffany Love shows how integral this particular emotion is to the brand. The displays in this room feature the role of Tiffany & Co. in some of the greatest love stories the world has seen, through the creation of the first modern engagement ring; the Tiffany® Setting, and most recently the Tiffany True™.
A film that changed the world of fashion and jewellery for the modern woman also happens to be the name of the next room of the exhibition. Breakfast at Tiffany’s made every woman want to be Audrey Hepburn, or Holly Golightly to be more precise. But it also gave the brand the biggest promotional push that it, perhaps, will ever get by making the diamonds in a Blue Box something every person aspires to own. This chapter takes visitors behind the scenes of the Hollywood classic, with some priceless displays such as the original script with Audrey Hepburn’s personal annotations and exclusive photographs at the iconic Fifth Avenue store.
The exhibition concludes by highlighting the glistening rock that has been the bedrock of the brand. Diamonds: Miracles of Nature showcases some of the most significant diamonds to Tiffany’s and their usage in designs from the Gilded Age and Art Deco to more contemporary styles, culminating with none other than the Tiffany Diamond. One of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered weighing in at 128.54 carats (25.108 g), it plays an important role in the design process for numerous collections. It has been worn only by Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse in 1957, Audrey Hepburn in 1961 and Lady Gaga in 2019.
Diamonds Miracles of Nature room
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