Tiffany & Co. – a legacy of classic jewellery design
As Holly Golightly will tell you, “Nothing very bad could happen to you there.”
She’s referring of course to Tiffany & Co.’s flagship jewellery shop on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
From their legendary heart tag bracelets to their iconic Tiffany Blue Box, Tiffany & Co. is arguably one the world’s most recognizable, popular and timeless jewellery brands.
From Art Deco era masterpieces to the modern Tiffany T collection – the debut for the brand’s first female Design Director, Francesca Amfitheatrof – Tiffany & Co. has endured in popularity for decades. Their jewels are a staple on the red carpet and their signature designs coveted by women everywhere.
Interestingly, the jewellery house didn’t start out selling jewellery, at least nothing more than costume pieces. The brand began as Tiffany & Young in 1837, purveyors of stationary and fine giftware.
It wasn’t long before Tiffany’s began offering European-imported jewellery, eventually acquiring their own stock of diamonds and gemstones. By the turn of the century, Tiffany’s had begun to solidify their reputation as an innovative and trendsetting jewellery house.
The start of signature designs
In the 1950s, Tiffany & Co. began featuring individual designers, starting with Jean Schlumberger, the creator of Tiffany’s classic “X” bangles, as well as brightly coloured, enameled animal motifs. He was the first designer the brand allowed to sign his work. His extensive Sixteen Stone and Ropetwist collections are considered new classics.
Only a handful of other designers for Tiffany’s have this honour: Paloma Picasso, Elsa Peretti and Frank Gehry.
In the 70s, Peretti’s simple and elegant designs transformed the way we wear diamonds, making them suitable for every day, in addition to upgrading sterling silver. Picasso joined Tiffany’s in 1980, bringing flair and sophistication with her bold designs.
Cherished symbols of style
Not the work of a famed designer, but certainly a signature motif, is the Return to Tiffany ® collection. Perhaps the most famous of all their designs, the heart tag bracelet is at the forefront of this contemporary collection that also features pendants, bangles, cuffs and earrings, all emblazoned with the well-known phrase.
The story behind the iconic expression goes back to 1969, with the introduction of the Return to Tiffany ® key ring inscribed with “Please Return to Tiffany & Co. New York,” and each one assigned a unique number. The idea was that if anyone were to lose their keys, they would be able to retrieve them from the famed Fifth Avenue shop.
The phrase has now simply become an invitation to visit the ultimate style and luxury locale, in the heart of NYC.
Also easily recognizable, the iconic Atlas collection featuring Roman numerals, is reminiscent of the storied clock that decorates the exterior of the flagship building. A mundane everyday object like a household key, becomes in the hands of an inspired designer, a popular selection of diamond-set pendants.
Pleasures of Keeping Current
With warmer weather ahead, this usually means spring cleaning and a wardrobe overhaul. But what about your jewellery collection? Of course there are significant pieces that will always have a place in your jewellery box, but it may be time to take stock and toss certain stale accessories.
How to take advantage of jewellery trends and still shop smart
The good news is that jewellery trends typically evolve at a slower rate than clothing trends, so you don’t need to strain your wallet to keep up. You can also stick to fashion jewellery for the more outrageous trends. That way you can still have some fun without overspending on something you might not get much wear out of in the long run. Save the larger investment for pieces that will remain timeless for you, regardless of what’s happening on the runway.
While taking inventory of your current jewellery collection, you can also keep an eye out for gemstones that could be rescued from a worn, dated setting and reimagined in a fresh new style. Not only is this a sustainable, economical approach to enhancing your jewels, it’s also a way to finally get some wear out of the sentimental pieces you’ve been hanging onto but would never wear in their current state. In fact, this current take on the three environmental Rs is an emerging trend in itself among jewellers, as consumers continue to care more and more about environmental impact.
Be aware though, that very often the value is not in the intrinsic worth of any particular gem. For instance, breaking up a classic Art Deco piece into its constituent bits is a major no-no. In such a case, it’s preferable to find a different good home for it, keeping the integrity of the design; choose to sell at auction, for example, and use the proceeds for something in a style that you will enjoy wearing.
Spring jewellery trends for 2020
Let’s take a look at what Spring fashion forecasters are calling for this season – and what these new pieces could replace:
In: Supersized earrings
Hoop earrings never seem to go out of style, but this year it’s all about the power hoops: big, shiny, colourful, bold.
If you really want to make a statement, you could always opt for the single earring, a look that dominated several runways this Spring. Just make sure the earring is substantial enough to make an impact on its own.
Out: Ear crawlers & huggie earrings
Spring jewellery trends this season are spotlight stealers, not wallflowers. It’s time to trade in those easy-to-wear, but often overlooked tiny earrings and huggie hoops for something more stylish.
A feminine classic that will remain a jewellery staple, pearls are getting a lot of wear this season, and not just as a simple strand around the neck: designers are using pearls in fresh new ways, from single earrings to headpieces and even sculptured shapes.
Out: Bohemian chokers
It’s time to set aside those Coachella-esque fabric chokers. This season is inspired by more masculine styles, such as signets and medallions.
Designers are getting playful this spring, especially with the use of bright hues, vibrant floral motifs, candy-coloured beads, and rainbows of baguette gems. This trend is all about having fun, creating unique looks with a mishmash of stones and metals.
Out: Blackened metals
Spring brings the welcome return of sunny days and vivid colours, which leaves little room for dull or dreary metals.
In: Chains & charms
Oversized chains were huge (literally and figuratively) on the runways this Spring, from sparkling to enamel, layered to textured. Chunky links reign supreme for necklaces this Spring.
Charms and long, layered lariats are a lighter, yet just as fashionable option, worn draped around the neck like a scarf.
Out: Bib necklaces
This Spring, it’s either chunky choker or long chain – no in-between. That means bye-bye to bib necklaces.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for what’s trending in Spring 2020 jewellery design is freedom and personalization. Customized elements, specialty-cut stones, and fearless mixing and matching will have your jewellery collection on point this season. Overly simplistic or delicate pieces are on the way out as more jewellery lovers gravitate toward bold, standout pieces that reflect their own unique personal style. But remember, if simple and delicate is your default comfort zone, experimenting can be fun. And rules are meant to be broken.