In London, Treasured Jewelry From the Tiffany Archive


LONDON — With the Tiffany & Firm flagship retailer in New York undergoing an extensive (and delayed) reworking, Christopher Younger, the particular person liable for overseeing the corporate’s archive, noticed a chance in all of the disruption. It was an opportunity, he stated, to share greater than 400 items from its assortment with the general public — not in Manhattan however in a London gallery identified extra for modern artwork than iconic jewels.

The result’s “Vision & Virtuosity,” an exhibition that runs by means of Aug. 19 on the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, curated by Mr. Younger, whose official title is vice chairman/artistic director of artistic visible merchandising and the Tiffany archives. Admission to the present is free, however you must obtain the Tiffany app for iOS or Android to e-book a slot.

One spotlight, together with gadgets from the corporate’s long-established archive, is the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, a yellow cushion-cut gem. It was seen mounted in a white diamond necklace on Beyoncé in a Tiffany advert marketing campaign final 12 months and on Girl Gaga on the Oscars in 2019, however the gem is generally saved on show within the Fifth Avenue store.

The archive itself comprises round 5,000 gadgets, the corporate stated, together with roughly 1,800 items of jewellery, documenting the legacy of Tiffany’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, and works by his son Louis Consolation Tiffany, together with creations by pre-eminent designers together with Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso.

However why would Tiffany, acquired for $15.8 billion final 12 months by the French luxurious conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, tuck so many invaluable items away in an archive? Mr. Younger defined the reasoning throughout a current video interview from the gallery, simply after escorting Ms. Picasso across the exhibition. (The dialog has been edited and condensed.)

Tiffany is within the enterprise of promoting. So why dangle onto such an enormous archive?

Ever for the reason that firm was based, we’ve all the time maintained data, actually designs. The oldest object within the archive is a money e-book from Day 1 in 1837. The stability sheet of what was invested into the corporate and the products that had been offered can be saved on this ledger. However an important goal is for us to find out about ourselves and to protect our historical past for the long run: to retailer our structure, our product design, our packaging design, our emblem design. And, after all, the archive is a wealthy supply for our designers as they proceed to evolve. We ceaselessly look again, to not replicate however to be taught the place did we come from and why had been sure decisions made. Because the starting of this model, there’s been fairly a little bit of innovation on the earth of jewellery, together with once we produced the six-prong setting in 1886.

What’s the oldest piece of jewellery within the archive?

One of many earliest items is an Archaeological Revival necklace in gold from round 1850 to 1870. It’s on show within the exhibition — we function it with the 1845 Blue Ebook, which is the primary mail-order catalog in the US. However a part of our function on the archives is to elucidate that jewellery making isn’t a brand new apply for us. There are spectacular examples, very early examples, that we will check with to level out our experience on this discipline. For instance, on this exhibition you see a spectacular 1870s diamond and emerald necklace. It simply illustrates the truth that we’re not new to this apply. You possibly can see how the Tiffany designs have developed with the completely different artistic leads.

Why did you select London to inform the Tiffany legacy?

Due to the renovation, the Tiffany Diamond wouldn’t be on show within the New York flagship. That meant that we had a window the place we might share it some other place. And in honor of our 150 years of conducting enterprise in London, we thought it could be a superb idea to carry it right here.

Why did you select the Saatchi Gallery?

We checked out a couple of areas. We beloved the connection to artwork. We beloved the neighborhood. We didn’t need it to be a business exhibition; we wished it to really feel creative in spirit.

One piece within the present is definitely on the market?

Sure, our reimagining of the World’s Honest diamond necklace from 1939. Now we have the unique design for it, which known as for an all-diamond necklace. On the time we couldn’t supply a diamond that huge — there was no 80-carat stone. As a substitute, the design was realized with a big aquamarine in an emerald form. However once we had been conceiving of this present, we felt we missed that basically huge diamond necklace second. We referred again to the archives and stated, Wouldn’t or not it’s superb if we might understand that piece? Our chief gemologist, Victoria Reynolds, out of the blue had entry to this 80-carat, internally flawless Empire Diamond stone and stated, “Let’s make it.” The concept that you may take the stone out of the middle and put on it as a hoop felt that rather more over-the-top. It is on the market. I’d love for the necklace to go to the archives however it could be our most costly acquisition ever, so I don’t assume that’s seemingly. But it surely was an actual full-circle second to do one thing that couldn’t be performed again in 1939.

What’s the asking worth?

I’m undecided. [Later, Tiffany said it could not reveal the price except to say its value was “north of eight figures.”]

Is the archive rising?

We’re continuously shopping for. We purchase ceaselessly.

Is there a Tiffany jewel you might be dying to get again into the archives?

Sure, there’s, and we simply obtained it. We actually, actually wished Louis Consolation Tiffany’s gold and opal Medusa pendant. It was thought-about lengthy gone, it was thought-about misplaced, however it got here up at auction this previous December [and sold for $3.65 million]. We moved heaven and earth to get that piece. I’ll inform you that we had been in fierce competitors with main establishments to get it again. It’s the holy grail of necklaces. It was a once-in-a-lifetime alternative. We’re now engaged on preserving it. The piece wants slightly little bit of loving care. There are stones lacking and issues we have to improve to ensure it’s in a superb state once more. However we hope to disclose it on the reopening of the New York flagship subsequent 12 months. If it’s prepared.

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