Romance, style, luxury and quality; for 175 years these words have been synonymous with Tiffany. When Audrey Hepburn, playing Holly Golightly in the classic 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, nibbled on that croissant outside the window of the New York store and mused that she didn’t want to own anything until she found a place where her and things go together, adding ‘I'm not sure where that is but I know what it’s like. It’s like Tiffany’s,’ she captured the essence of a jewellery store with a talismanic quality that resonates with concepts of harmony, elegance and an enduring sense of style. Today the Tiffany engagement ring remains the most sought-after symbol of love and commitment in the world. Last year Tiffany & Co even added an iPhone app to help customers choose a diamond engagement ring in a more intimate setting.
The Tiffany Setting
Since Tiffany was founded in 1837 its commitment to excellence and craftsmanship have earned it a well-deserved place in the style archives. Nowhere are these qualities more apparent than in the exquisite execution of its iconic diamond engagement ring. The 1886 introduction of the innovative six-prong Tiffany Setting launched the notion of the engagement ring as we know it today. ‘The diamond is the most important gemstone in the world and honours the vision of our founder, whose acquisition of the stone established Tiffany’s diamond heritage,’ explains Jon King, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany’s reputation as the world’s leading diamond authority had already been established by the time the Tiffany Setting was created. The stone that was to become the Tiffany Diamond was discovered in South Africa’s Kimberley diamond mines in 1877; Charles Lewis Tiffany, the ‘King of Diamonds’, acquired the 287.42 carat rough stone the following year. The rough stone was brought to Paris, where Tiffany’s chief gemologist, Dr George Frederick Kunz, supervised and designed the the cutting of the diamond into a cushion-shaped brilliant weighing 128.54 carats with an unprecedented 82 facets. This was 24 more facets than the traditional 58-facet brilliant cut, a revolutionary design innovation at the time.
Resetting the Tiffany Diamond
This year, to mark 175 years of legendary design excellence, Tiffany has reset the celebrated Tiffany Diamond in a spectacular diamond and platinum necklace. ‘Resetting the Tiffany Diamond represents a commitment to the future and design innovation,’ explains Jon King. This is only the fifth time the diamond has been set; a previous occasion was in the Schlumberger’s Ribbon Rosette necklace to promote the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and another saw it mounted in Schlumberger’s Bird on a Rock setting for the designer’s 1995 retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Maximising natural brilliance
While few brides-to-be can aspire to anything as spectacular as the Tiffany Diamond, which is just over an inch wide and seven-eighths of an inch from top to bottom, the Tiffany Setting remains the most popular engagement ring style in the world. The diamond is set slightly away from the band, in six prongs. This allows more light to shine through the stone, to maximise its natural brilliance, giving it that ‘lit from within’ quality that reflects the first flush of romantic love.
Millions of couples across the world continue to pledge a lifelong commitment to each other with a beautiful and treasured piece of design: the quintessential Tiffany diamond engagement ring. The sheer simplicity, beauty and magic of the diamond ring remains a classically timeless motif of the most stylish and long-lasting love affairs. What could be a more fitting token of true love?