6 legacy gemstones from Tiffany & Co. you need to know
Tiffany & Co. is on tour, and Singapore is the lucky first in the region to receive the smorgasbord of extraordinary creations from its latest collection, Vivid Dreams. And we're certainly no stranger to the beautiful, shiny things from the New York jewellery house — we here at Buro are partial to the HardWear collection ourselves — especially the ubiquitous Tiffany setting ring practically every couple gushes about. Beyond matrimonial bliss and diamond engagement rings though, the house has also been curating magnificent coloured stones and meticulously crafting them into some of its most enduring designs since the mid-19th century.
As a nod to brand founder Charles Lewis Tiffany and his lifelong passion of scouring the world for the most beautiful stones, Vivid Dreams brings together all six of its legacy gemstones in one collection. Featuring more than 80 pieces, each with unique settings made to allow the gems to radiate with sublime colour and light, tsavorites, tanzanites, kunzites and morganites take centrestage on statement necklaces, rings and whole parures (it's a magpie's fantasy come true). But if your knowledge on coloured rocks is a bit spotty, why not brush up on your gemstone lexicon ahead of the exhibition? Here's a nutshelling of the Tiffany legacy stones:
Named after the man who discovered it, Dr George Frederick Kunz — who was a gemologist that sold an exceptional tourmaline to Charles Lewis Tiffany before joining the company – this lilac pink stone was unearthed in California in 1902. It sometimes also comes in colourless variants.
A violet pink beryl that was introduced to Tiffany via a devoted customer who was a major collector of coloured stones (go figure, his name was John Pierpont Morgan), morganite was originally from Madagascar and began appearing in the house's jewellery from 1910.
3. Montana sapphire
Perhaps the most widely used gemstone among all the legacy rocks; the colour-saturated green-blue hue was a favourite of chief jewellery designer G. Paulding Farnham who worked in the company from 1891 to 1908. One such creation was a nine inch iris brooch set with Montana sapphires, green garnets and diamonds.
Introduced in 1968 by Tiffany, this was a unique variety of the mineral zoisite and was the first transparent blue gemstone discovery in hundreds of years. Representing a whole new rare gem species, it's prized for its singular shade of blue that flashes violet, and can only be found at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Another late 20th century yield from Africa, tsavorites are famed for their intensely rich green hue and are classified as a rare type of garnet. Mined from the Tsavo National Park near the border of Kenya and Tanzania, then president of Tiffany Henry B. Platt was the one who christened it.
Arguably the most famous coloured gem, rubies are not without controversy as most of these scarlet stones originate from Myanmar and have been sold to fuel its militaristic regime. In fact, Tiffany has ceased producing ruby jewellery since 2003 and only recently re-introduced rubies back into its collections following the discovery of a new source in Mozambique.
See the Vivid Dreams high jewellery collection exhibition, opening on 8 April at the Tiffany & Co. boutique at Ion Orchard, from 10am - 9.30pm.
For last week's #FirstClassFriday, click here.