In 1878 Charles Lewis Tiffany, owner of Tiffany & Co., acquired a yellow diamond of an imposing weight: 287.42 carats, rough!
In September 1833 Charles Lewis Tiffany and his partner John B. Young opened a retail store at 259 Broadway, in New York. Tiffany’s was entirely innovative and revolutionary for its time because of a policy of selling jewellery, stationery and luxury items, in which the marked price was fixed and non – negotiable.
All of the articles were top notch and packed in the store’s signature “Tiffany Blue”, packaging, elegantly establishing the brand.
In 1878, when Tiffany’s acquired the tremendous yellow diamond, a young eccentric gemologist in their employ named Dr. George Frederick Kunz, desired to study the stone for a full year before deciding in which way it should be cut.
The stone was a diamond from the Kimberley mine, South Africa, which later would become known as the largest known yellow diamond. After a careful study, Dr. Kunz decided on cutting the stone to a size 82, modified, antique cushion brilliant, at 128.54 carats.
The famous yellow diamond never sold and has been calculated at a value of approximately 200 million euro. It has been placed in different settings and remains on display today in its home, Tiffany & Co., on Fifth Avenue in New York.
Only two women have worn the diamond; Mary Whitehouse in 1957 and actress Audrey Hepburn in 1961, for a publicity shoot for the legendary film “Breakfast at Tiffany ‘s “, thus catapulting the store into world renown.
I have seen the film at least ten times and it is one of my favourites. I love the eccentricity of the character Holly Golightly, her clothes, the music, the zeitgeist and above all the jewels that are shown in the film.
For this occasion, the designer Jean Schlumberger created a spectacular jewel, the Ribbon Rosette necklace. It was a white gold necklace with diamonds and the centrepiece was the Tiffany yellow diamond. The necklace was a spectacular setting for the stone and a stunner on the elegant neck of actress and icon, Audrey Hepburn.
The diamond has also been displayed in the “Collar Ave” show held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1995 and today is displayed in a new design by the creative team of the house Tiffany & Co., as part of the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Tiffany & Co.