E stablished by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young in New York City in 1837, Tiffany & Co. is perhaps the world’s most recognized jewelry company. Its first store on 259 Broadway created a stir with it revolutionary policy of non-negotiable prices. Charles Tiffany also became renowned for his pursuit of one-of-a-kind objects that would fascinate his wealthy New York patrons. When his store obtained some of the French crown jewels in 1848, Tiffany’s legendary status was assured.
The Tiffany style was founded on simple elegance and classic silver designs. When the company won the coveted Award of Merit at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1867 it sent shock waves in couture jewelry centers around the globe—for it was the first time a European jury had awarded such distinction to an American company.
While Charles Tiffany introduced the now famous engagement ring in a six prong “Tiffany setting,” it was his son Louis Comfort (L.C.) Tiffany who powered Tiffany & Co.’s reputation for design excellence. A master of decorative glass, L.C. received a patent for his opalescent window glass in 1881. And in subsequent years his commissions for the likes of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mark Twain, and other famous Americans earned him recognition both at home and abroad. In 1902, he became Tiffany & Co.’s first design director, creating popular and critically acclaimed designs that were inspired by the natural world and the arts and cultures of foreign lands.