Tiffany Jewelry and Accessories Complete Guide-Review
Tiffany and Co.
Few jewelry brands enjoy the status that has been the privilege of Tiffany & Co for the past 170 years. The range and depth of Tiffany's assortment, carefully, incrementally developed since its inception, satisfy an arch of tastes and needs, from the simple and classic to the most fanciful and sophisticated.
Possibly the most prized Tiffany value reaches beyond the monetary: it's that of security, the one ensuing from the firm's longevity, reliability and consistency of design. Particularly, engagement rings and wedding bands – quintessentially expressing family and companionship values – embody this idea.
Tiffany's most illustrious clients must have been Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, the president and his wife receiving presents during the 1861 inauguration. The company's association with high government offices continued during the Civil War, when the company emerged as a provider of swords and surgical instruments for the Union Army; the U.S.A. Great Seal (appearing on one dollar bills) was also designed by Tiffany.
Due to the immense variety of materials, products, and collections on offer at Tiffany's, it's impossible to speak about a single design direction. What Tiffany & Co. have is a design philosophy, different aspects of which find outlets most notably in the work of four jewelry designers: Jean Shlumberger, Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso, and Frank Gehry. Each one has his or her unique signature, that nevertheless fits under the common philosophy umbrella:
Jean Shlumberger, the first jewelry artist to work independently with Tiffany, created for the company a series of exotic collections generous on gemstones, gold, platinum, and enamel. His jewelry draws from nature's forms and curves, and employs fairy, paradisaical, magical, and otherwise whimsical motifs. Schlumberger's jewelry is complex, allegorical, and symbolical.
Elsa Peretti's contribution is more varied (and affordable) in terms of product range, and reflects a clean and flowing design approach – a simple answer to Schlumberger's complexities. Peretti' work embodies complete, consummate ideas and designs, buttressed by a sense of confident tastefulness; besides geometrical motifs, she often employs such familiar shapes as hearts, crosses, and hearts.
Paloma Picasso explores another classic direction. Her jewelry, often transparent and colorful, reveals sensitivity to hue; angular or curving line-based ornaments hint at more geometrical influence. Picasso plays with equal confidence with symmetry and asymmetry, creating surprising, fresh compositions (perhaps being influenced by her father).
Frank Gehry's jewelry exhibits many irregularities, creases and unexpected turns: it appears to relish a certain sense of danger, and risk taking. In a way, Gehry's creation signal a return to Schlumberger's exoticism, albeit in a different vein. Instead of the magic we get more realistic expression of chaos and instability – a genuine reflection of our times. Many fish and marine inspired pieces.
Jewelry and Accessories
Tiffany's oeuvre can be categorized according to designer lines, materials (metals, gemstones, other), collections (Atlas, Metro, Lace, Notes, and more) and product types. In order to avoid confusion, we chose the latter mode. Click on the links to read dedicated reviews:
Bracelets form one of Tiffany's most extensive departments. Virtually all precious metals (gold of all colors, platinum, silver) are employed in their making, while separate lines of bracelets incorporate diamonds, gemstones, enamel, lacquer, and other materials. Some of the more familiar collections on offer include Legacy, Victoria, Aria, and others.
Brooches express Tiffany's respect for tradition possibly more than any other jewelry type. Opportunities to boast them become scarcer, but for that the more cherished (the same is also true about cuff links). Being attached to a piece of clothing near the chest area, brooches require careful planning and fashion awareness, as not to draw too much or too little attention; Tiffany assist in this task by offering clearly defined thematic brooches encrusted with diamonds and various gemstones.
Charms department makes an important foray into play jewelry field – though by no means all of Tiffany's charms are play jewelry. Evident, however, is boundless creativity, both in materials and theme: gold and silver, diamonds and gems, lacquer and enamel, all shaped and molded into miniature models of vehicles, ships, animals, insects, fruits, trees, hearts, crosses, and more.
Earrings often match with bracelets, rings, or necklaces to form a set – but practically any pair of earrings can stand (or rather hang) on its own, as independent jewelry. In line with design variety of other Tiffany's products, earrings encompass a range of collections and will suit ladies of different tastes and age groups. Being intrinsically symmetrical – owing to their paired nature – earrings often elevate the concept of design symmetry to sheer virtuosity.
Rings occupy the forefront in the brand's product inventory. Engagement rings and wedding bands (combined with the trademark blue box) embody the essence of Tiffany as a trusty companion to starting a family tradition. Ring designs vary from orthodox (white gold and a single diamond) to avant-guard and exotic, begemmed with precious and semi-precious stones. Many of the pieces were designed to accord with the lighter, fun-oriented side of the charms.
Necklaces, even the most robustly built, always project a sense of delicate elegance and refinement – two important qualities that underlie all Tiffany's jewelry (and accessories). Chains – golden, silver, platinum, or palladium – make up the bulk of necklace bases, the rest consisting of precious and semi-precious stone beads, and other materials.
Pendants, not unlike charms, present a choice between the playful and the serious. Consisting of hearts, crosses, and other familiar shapes, most pendants can be conveniently categorized according to established collections: Somerset, Jazz, Metro, Signature, Swing, and others. Components include diamonds, gold, and other luxury materials.
Watches: Tiffany make men's and ladies' fashion and jewelry timepieces with quartz movements. Interestingly, stainless steel, rather than gold or platinum, becomes the chief alloy employed; diamonds often complete the stark design. Square or round, the dials have clear faces with Roman and Arabic numerals executed in classic fonts.
Tiffany's diamonds deserve a special mention. Probably no other precious stone carries such a strong connotation with enduring love, friendship, and companionship – and the company came to realize, and rely on this belief. Besides their being dazzlingly beautiful and sparkling, diamonds are also clear and translucent, implying similar qualities in a relationship between two people, regardless of the relationship's type.
Tiffany's flatware – spoons, forks, and knives – provides a transition towards utility, and performs the very important function of symbolizing the shift from celebration (diamonds) to routine (silver). Designs include botanical, garden, and geometrical motifs; established collections: Padova, Faneuil, Audubon, and others. Tiffany's vases and bowls compliment the utensils with crystal spark and transparency.
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