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Tiffany’s Blue Book

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We’ve no doubt you’ve heard of Tiffany’s Blue Book Collection before, especially if you’re a fan of their fine luxury jewellery and specific mastery of diamond sourcing and arrangement.

This world famous collection takes its name from the first ‘Blue Book’ Tiffany’s catalogue, which was published in 1845. Since then these publications – the first catalogues to be printed in full colour and given away free until 1972 – have coaxed a lot of enthralled sighs out of jewellery lovers. As you can probably imagine, expectations have continued to rise and yet again and again the designers that cultivate the Blue Book have risen to meet them. What began as a simple opportunity to showcase new jewellery became a direct conversation between Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis and his clientele. Meanwhile the contents of the book were sharpened over years of careful refinement. The scrawled line drawings disappeared and in their place came glossy photographs. Then the book cover was changed from navy blue to the lighter, patented Tiffany Blue found on all the store boxes and shopping bags. In fact, the printed catalogue available today even comes with a digital accompaniment.

 

The Glamour Blue Book, 2014

In 2014 Tiffany released an enchanting array of pieces, themed around vivid explosions of saturated colour. Every hue, it seemed, was on display, from lustrous reds in Spinel and Diamond Rings to canary yellows in Diamond and Cabochon Fire Opal Rings. One of the highlights, though, was an exquisite Aquamarine Bow Bracelet, designed using old archive sketches from the 1930s and adorned with an emerald-cut Aquamarine centrepiece framed by Tiffany’s signature Diamonds. To pay tribute to this spectacular jewellery, Tiffany hosted an artistic event at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where an array of stars was in attendance, including Jessica Biel, Katie Holmes and Kate Bosworth. Biel was dressed in a curve-skimming velvet halterneck dress from Oscar de la Renta, holding an elegant sequin clutch, while Bosworth draped her golden tresses over a strapless Kate Ermilio dress of blush pink silk and Holmes cut a demure figure in a black and white frock from Balenciaga. These stunning ladies matched the colourful theme chosen for the fine jewellery collection, which seemed at times to be reminiscent of vibrant India. Also, the museum’s rotunda was lit up with a multi-coloured display of 3D Blue Book jewels – part of a sound and light installation courtesy of the modernist Leo Kuelbs Collection.

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The Art of the Sea, 2015

The Art of the Sea was Tiffany’s 2015 Blue Book arranged by the newly appointed Design Director, Francesca Amfitheatrof. It was a collection with a distinct theme and one that imbued the jewellery with the added mystique of the ocean. Keen to give us something we’d never seen before, Amfitheatrof attempted to capture the endless permutations that shape and cajole the fluid motion of water. She wanted to reflect the fact that water is never still and, most importantly (as is also essential to the allure of gemstones) never the same. So she used this malleable element as her muse and drew upon the fleeting use of shade and light to express a mood and tone unlike anything that has appeared in the Blue Book hitherto.

‘Sapphires and diamonds represent the riches of the sea and the strength and power of waves.’ – Francesca Amfitheatrof, Tiffany & Co. Design Director

On the Tiffany website Amfitheatrof expressed her avid desire to capture water’s ‘energetic and fluid soul’, creating effusions that are at once both brilliant and mysterious, whilst also having a profound effect on the wearer. Included in this collection was a selection of antique style jewellery designed using the old Tiffany archives, like, for example, a 19th Century Tiffany Pocket Watch emblazoned with wave motifs and an interlocking chain, which inspired one of the Art of the Sea’s diamond necklaces.

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The Art of Transformation, 2016

This year it looks like the legacy of Tiffany & Co. has come to another bright flash, bringing the annual collection out from behind the sheet glass of the Fifth Avenue store in New York. Prepare yourself for some unique jewellery specifically wrought to be treasured. So far we’ve seen radiant Fish Earrings lit up with blue Cuprian Tourmalines and Diamonds set on the still waters of a cushion cut 13ct Tanzanite and 27ct Pink Spinel. Each design conveys a singular story and helps to bring the house’s deserved reputation and heritage to light. What makes this Blue Book even more exciting than the last is the return of the Design Director, Francesca Amfitheatrof, hence the continued art nouveau theme, rooted in the natural world and enriched by various underwater motifs.

When asked about the inspiration behind this theme, Amfitheatrof responded by saying:

‘In this collection, we are taking you on a journey through nature. From the deep ocean, we float to the edge of the water where stillness reigns. In this world, cocooned in calm, transformation occurs. Life changes and nature reaches to the surface and takes its first breath of air. It’s a story about evolution and all that is possible in silence and peace, where nature plays its magic and creates the mysteries of the world we live in.’

You can glean from her description that Amfitheatrof is further using poetry to bring this oceanic theme to life. It also seems to inform the designs – we’ve seen several pieces that resemble seaweed being trailed through water, as well as a stylish pair of Starfish Cuffs and even a bulbous Pearl Octopus Brooch (pictured below). In keeping with Tiffany’s heritage the collection also features a cool selection of superlative Diamonds and Blue Sapphires. What’s most special, though, is the fact that each piece forms an individual artwork. If you look through the collection you’ll find plenty of abstract designs. One of our favourites was beautified with a 22.11ct Yellow Sapphire, encircled by White Diamonds like the sun wrapped in whorls of cloud. Another was a neat, geometric Diamond Bracelet with a mixture of pear, round, emerald, oval, marquise and square cut Diamonds arranged to mimic the outflow of a river pouring into the ocean. Finally, we have to mention Tiffany’s use of Diamond, always the main focus of any Blue Book, which in this case remains impeccable. Several of the larger Diamond Pendants include stunning 40ct stones, reminding us that Tiffany’s skilled artisans have been cut loose and allowed to truly explore the potential of their craft in the realm of contemporary design.

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