Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and have been for the past 175 years. Today’s the 175th anniversary of Tiffany & Co., which opened its doors on Sept. 14, 1837 in New York’s lower Manhattan.
Originally a “stationery and fancy goods store” founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, its first day sales totaled just $4.98. Today, those who untie their white ribbon off the small Tiffany & Co. signature blue box know a special surprise awaits inside.
Tiffany, known as the “King of Diamonds,” purchased one of the world’s largest and finest yellow diamonds which was discovered in the Kimberley diamond mine in South Africa in 1877. The company’s icon — the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond — is on display on the Main Floor of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store. Audrey Hepburn wore the stone in publicity photographs for the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and is only one of two women to ever wear the stunner. The other person was Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse who wore it at the 1957 Tiffany Ball held in Newport, R.I.
For its 175th anniversary, Tiffany had the gem set in a spectacular diamond and platinum necklace totaling over 120 carats and had the piece tour the world before landing back in its New York flagship location.
Tiffany is also releasing new collections for their milestone. Among the collections available include a lilac-pink stone named kunzite crafted into the Tiffany Anniversary Kunzite pendant of 175 carats. The kunzite gemstone was named after Tiffany’s prominent gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz, who traveled the world searching for the most exotic gemstones for the company.
Throughout the company’s history, celebrities and politicians that have worn the various designs include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Vanderbilts, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Taylor. Franklin Roosevelt purchased a Tiffany engagement ring in 1904.
Tiffany has also designed trophies for top sporting events, including the trophies for the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships for over 20 years. In addition, Tiffany designed Super Bowl rings, most recently for the 2007 New York Giants, winners of Super Bowl XLII; World Series Championship rings; Olympic medals for the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York; and the crystal and sterling silver Breeders Crown for harness racing.
Tiffany & Co. operates approximately 250 stores in 22 countries with 88 stores in the United States.