Charles Lewis Tiffany, the Setting and the Romantic Icon

 

The history of the jeweller Tiffany’s & Co began in the middle of the 19th century; when Charles Lewis Tiffany borrowed $1000 from his father in order to open a small stationary shop and a jewellery store in the centre of Manhattan. Quickly the store became a must-visit for stylish men and women who were searching for tasteful attire. It should be noted that Victorian lavishness was in fashion at the time and, for jewellery, that meant large jewels mounted on top of rings which were sized quite large. The appeal of the Tiffany boutique found its niche in the different approach of Charles Lewis – a man who used metal which was 92% pure and travelled the world – visiting many exhibitions searching for the most precious stones. The craftsman would cut diamonds and other rubies according to their brightness, as opposed to the weight of the carats. He received international acclaim when he won the prize for metal crafts at the “Exposition Universelle” in Paris. However the story of the Tiffany Setting, the icon of Tiffany’s & Co repertoire, began about twenty years later.

In 1886 Victorian Era jewellery was still in fashion – heavy decorations and engravings were almost suffocating the brilliance of the stones used. Charles Lewis Tiffany wanted to change this. What he was looking for was a discreet way of allowing his treasures to shine without fail – he wanted the stone and only the stone to captivate the world! He then came up with the Setting: a ring which would raise the jewel, with six brooches to raise it up in order to maximise the light and the shine. Using the least possible amount of metal, the founder of Tiffany’s & Co managed to highlight the brilliance of the diamond. Better still; the diamond is raised up as though it’s floating above the ring… The Setting was born, and the legend of this ring quickly made an impression on the public’s imagination.

The Setting became the perfect item to be offered as a wedding ring, as the piece captures and shows off all the sparkle of a pure diamond. The innovation of Charles Lewis Tiffany is seen by the fact that he succeeded in designing an engagement ring which became the ultimate symbol of love and commitment – a simple ring which hides nothing, which allows only the sublime character of the jewel to shine. And in 2016, the piece had lost none of its greatness. For Tiffany, the 130th anniversary of the ring was an opportunity to honour its continued relevance. Throughout its existence the Tiffany Setting has, in effect, kept up and even embellished its original design: a brilliant cutting edge diamond exhibited by six platinum claws. Nothing more, nothing less, for a ring built in the image of an unchanging love.

 

2018: Tiffany & Co. regard the Setting as “the world’s most iconic engagement ring”.

Winter 2016: Tiffany rings, such as the Setting, continues to be popular among celebrities such as Amal Clooney and Anne Hathaway. 

2016: Bridget Jones chooses the Tiffany Setting as her engagement ring.

2016: The Setting was at the centre of Tiffany & Co.’s advertisement campaign “I will”.

2015: Mila Kunis explains her Tiffany ring is “incredibly beautiful”. 

Spring 2015: Cora Emmanuel poses for the campaign « Will you ? » from the Tiffany company, with a Tiffany Setting.

2014: The video campaign “This is a Tiffany Ring” promotes the Setting

2012: Forbes journalist Jane Lee sees the Setting as “the most sought-after engagement ring style to date”.

2012: Tiffany & Co. detail how the Setting is “classic, stunning” and “sets a standard for true love”.

2011: Laetitia Casta appears in the advertising campaign for the Setting, alongside Lee Pace.    

2009: The Setting makes an appearance in the film Bride Wars.

2007: The Tiffany Novo makes its appearance in the market, in the image of the Tiffany Setting.

2000: Charlotte de Sex and the City is offered a Tiffany Setting by Trey in the third season .

1999: Tiffany launches a new size diamond with the name Lucida.

1887: Charles Lewis Tiffany shocked the world when he purchased the French Crown Jewels in Paris. Many of the featured diamonds and styles became part of Tiffany designs.

1886: Charles Lewis Tiffany creates the magnificent Tiffany Setting

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