Tiffany & Co exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery

Jewels, fables and films: Tiffany & Co celebrates a dazzling legacy in London

Discover Tiffany & Co’s illustrious history at next month’s ‘Vision & Virtuosity’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery

Tiffany & Co is taking a deep-dive into a legendary history in a new exhibition opening in June 2022 at London’s Saatchi Gallery. ‘Vision & Virtuosity’ marks 150 years since the New York jeweller arrived in London with a meander through almost two centuries of history divided into seven parts, considering everything from the house’s high jewellery to the well-known popular cultural references.

An antique diamond and platinum brooch, 1961

The exhibition begins with an exploration into the history of the window displays at the flagship Fifth Avenue store, which have sparked the public’s imagination since they began to appear in 1955 under artistic director Gene Moore. Under his tenure, the windows became art installations, with humorous designs bringing a previously unseen irreverence to jewellery displays. This wit also characterises the exhibition’s second chapter, which considers how Tiffany & Co became a ubiquitous presence in everyday culture, taking in everything from the distinctive blue of the jewellery boxes to the brand’s role in film and art. The most iconic movie moment, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, has its own chapter, featuring memorabilia including Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy black dress and her script, complete with her notes.

High jewellery takes centre stage later on, with an exploration into the fantastical creations of the Blue Book, the mail order catalogue of rare high jewellery that made its debut in 1845. Exceptional pieces include those by respected designer Jean Schlumberger.

Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s script

Tiffany & Co’s diamond expertise forms the subject of subsequent chapters. ‘The Diamonds chapter is where you will find my favourite piece in the exhibition, the reimagined World’s Fair necklace set with the 80.33ct Empire Diamond,’ says Vicky Reynolds, chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. ‘It is nothing short of spectacular. The Empire Diamond is, in a way, a modern expression of a legacy that began with the Tiffany Diamond in 1878. It’s this relentless pursuit of the world’s finest diamonds that underscores everything we do at Tiffany.’

It is a skill set encapsulated in the engagement ring designs, part of a history that began with the Tiffany Setting and continues to the present day with the unveiling last year of the Charles Tiffany Setting. These more modern pieces sit alongside 19th-century jewels on display including a diamond brooch dating from 1855 and created by Frères Bapst, the French court jeweller, for Empress Eugénie of France, and the legendary Tiffany Diamond, one of the most famous yellow diamonds in the world, discovered in 1877 and purchased by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany a year later.

The Empire Diamond necklace

‘“Vision & Virtuosity” tells the extraordinary story of one of the oldest luxury jewellers, through its nearly 200-year history of pioneering creativity, legendary craftsmanship and sourcing of the world’s most extraordinary diamonds and gemstones,’ adds Anthony Ledru, president and chief executive officer at Tiffany & Co. ‘This exhibition perfectly captures our long-standing heritage in bridging tradition and modernity. We are thrilled to share the world of Tiffany & Co and our unique high jewellery style with London.’ §

The advert, ’Twenty five rings that deserve a hand’, 1969
 

The Tiffany & Co Blue Book, 1966-67 catalogue