One jewelry collection for which I wait eagerly every year is the Tiffany’s Blue Book. The jewels are as iconic as the name of the collection and each piece is worth drooling over. My latest story ‘The Tiffany Jewel Box’ written for the Solitaire Magazine’s Feb- March issue tells you what this Blue Book is all about as I flip through the pages of the 2019 collection. Enjoy!
The Tiffany Blue Book pushes the boundaries of imagination
“Reaching the top is tough but staying on the top is much tougher.” These words positively apply to Tiffany & Co., one of the world’s leading jewelry brands, as it has continuously wowed us with its collections year on year. Launching a new collection every season has become the norm for the jewelry industry, but how you make a collection iconic is what Tiffany & Co. has taught the world.
The famous Tiffany Blue Book is the brand’s annual showcase of unparalleled works of high jewelry that pushes the boundary of design. Since its inception in 1845, this tradition is a celebration of over 180 years of Tiffany’s groundbreaking artistry. While the first issue was a humble catalog of fancy goods, it soon evolved into an annual collection of the most creative, experimental, and innovative high jewelry.
In the words of Chief Artistic Officer, Reed Krakoff, “Tiffany’s celebrated Blue Book Collection is the ultimate in high jewelry design. These spectacular, one-of-a-kind creations are handcrafted by artisans in the workshop above the Fifth Avenue flagship store, in whose hands Tiffany’s legacy comes brilliantly to life.”
The early editions featured lavish diamonds acquired from French and Spanish crown jewels, but the latest editions often have modern versions of the jewelry inspired from the Gilded Age like the “current leaf” diamond brooch from the 2013 collection, based on a brooch originally created for Marie Antoinette, as well as the 18kt gold bracelets featured in 2014 that trace the floral tapestries of renowned 19th century Tiffany designer Paulding Farnham.
For the 1920 Blue Book Collection, Louis Comfort Tiffany designed a jade and amethyst necklace inspired by Mughal, Court jewelry of India. The bejeweled birds, flowers, and ocean life of the legendary Jean Schlumberger have been a regular feature of Blue Book since 1956. The 2009–2010 edition features a newly crafted version of his Ribbon Rosette diamond necklace, which was initially designed to mount the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond to promote the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The Blue Book also highlights Tiffany’s gemstone heritage especially Tanzanite, Tsavorite, Kunzite, and Morganite, whose discovery credit goes to the talented gemologists of the brand. Colour saturated jewels with these four, plus many other vibrant gemstones, often line the pages of the Blue Book.
“We really wanted to lift up our craftsmanship and design heritage, highlight the Tiffany hollowware workshop, and celebrate the innovative artistry that brings the Blue Book to life,” expresses Krakoff. “The current collection explores the intersection of art and science, showcasing intricate designs that draw from nature, yet combine an element of wit and surprise. This year, we’re excited to have added men’s high jewelry pieces in a series of lapel pins and signet rings. It’s an opportunity to bring incredible beauty to an important customer who is also a collector.”
Titled ‘Tiffany Jewel Box’, this edition of the Blue Book collection showcases the Earth’s most beautiful gemstones in the most creative ways; categorized into sub-themes of flight, flora, frame, icons, mosaic, sculpture, and ribbon.
Taking its cue from the theme, 11 nature-inspired brooches come together as part of a series, with an accompanying bespoke vessel designed to house each brooch. These include a butterfly captured in a glass jar, a dragonfly ready to fly out of a silver envelope, and a scarab beetle hiding inside a matchbox.
“We wanted to create a collection that speaks to connoisseurs of the unusual and unexpected, to people who are looking for something they’ve never seen or worn before,” continues Krakoff. “The labor and craftsmanship that goes into our high jewelry collection are truly extraordinary. The settings that hold these incredible stones were constructed with great care and technical precision so that the gem’s beauty is perfectly framed.”
The list of the notable pieces is long, but a few standouts are the 18kt yellow gold necklace that features over 40 carats of diamonds in different cuts like pear, emerald, and cushion, each inside a clever gold frame and floating in appearance. Another favorite is the ruby heart of over 28 carats, cut into individual shapes that appear as though they have been broken then lovingly pieced together and housed within a yellow gold locket. There is also is the yellow gold handkerchief brooch as if floating within a sterling silver and glass box with a striking 5-carat emerald-cut diamond nestled in its center.
The Blue Book Collection debuts each year with a gala held in New York City, but important red carpet events often allow for an advanced sneak peek into the collection. From the 2019 collection, it was Lady Gaga who gave us the first glimpse of the in-flight yellow gold and diamond butterfly choker that she wore to the Met Gala in May 2019.