The 31 diamonds of the Tiffany Collection. Photo courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
In 2022, Victoria Wirth Reynolds, the chief gemologist of Tiffany & Company, was approached with an offer that almost certainly was unlikely to be repeated. It involved a parcel of fancy pink stones that were among last such diamonds to have been recovered at the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia, which had finally been shut down about one year earlier.
“We had to do it,” said Anthony Ledru, Tiffany’s president and chief executive, later speaking to the New York Times. “It’s perfect with what we stand for.”
There were 35 fancy-colored diamonds involved, ranging in size from 0.35 carats to 1.52 carats. They are today known as the Tiffany Collection, which is the first and almost certainly the last time that Argyle curated a collection named in honor of a jeweler.
Ledru would not disclose what Tiffany paid for them, but did note that the parcel represented the company’s single largest purchase in all of 2022.
He said that it had not yet been decided how the diamonds would be used in jewelry , but added that it was likely that they all would be used in one-of-a-kind designs.
The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia, which ceased operating in 2021.
PINK, PURPLE AND RED
“We are delighted that this collection of rare Argyle pink diamonds, with their extraordinary Australian provenance and a story that began one and a half billion years ago, is now entrusted to the unrivaled craftsmanship of Tiffany & Co.,” said Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Minerals.
“This extraordinary collection of 35 Argyle pink diamonds showcases the range of colors that Argyle diamonds are famous for, including fancy intense pink, fancy intense purplish pink, fancy vivid pink, fancy vivid purplish pink, deep pink, and the rarest of all—a fancy red diamond,” said Wirth Reynolds.
“Not only are they incredibly rare, but these diamonds also align perfectly with our diamond craft journey initiative, whereby we provide our clients information on the provenance—or the region or countries of origin—for every newly sourced, individually registered diamond that we set in jewelry,” Tiffany’s chief gemologist stated.
Currently, the diamonds are being shown to select clients in New York City and in February they will be shown in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
But, in celebration of this historic acquisition, Tiffany will present the the stones select clients for a limited time starting in early spring 2023.
PART OF TIFFANY’S IMAGE
According to market pundits interviewed by the New York Times, the purchase sof the Tiffany Collection it not only about potential sales, but also brand image, as Tiffany aims to differentiate itself from other high jewelry brands. This clearly appears be the strategy of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which purchased the New York-headquartered chain in January 2021 for $15.8 billion.
“This is about taking the Tiffany name and separating it from everybody else yet again, like they did in their early heritage,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail adviser for the NPD Group, speaking to the New York Times. “This takes them to a level where their competition can’t get, even those that may have been perceived at the same level, or higher.”
“It elevates them once again to a level where they started,” he said. “This brings them back to their roots, which creates this higher elevated level of prestige,” Cohen added.
It’s not the first time that Tiffany has attached its name to a diamond. The most famous was the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, which is 128.54 carats. Discovered in South Africa in 1877, it was purchased by the jewelry company’s founder Charles Tiffany. It is known to have been worn by only four women during its lifetime – Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball held in Newport, Rhode Island; Audrey Hepburn in 1961 publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Lady Gaga at the 91st Academy Awards in 2019; and Beyoncé in a collaboration campaign with Tiffany in 2021.
Israeli actress Gal Dadot appeared to be wearing the Tiffany Yellow Diamond in the 2022 film Death on the Nile, where the theft of the stone is a part of the mystery, but it was only a replica.
The 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond.