It’s fair to say Tiffany & Co. is on a roll—a big one. The 185-year-old NYC-founded house has made headlines since the 19th century when it acquired many of the French Crown Jewels to sell to its economically and socially ascendant American clientele, but 2023 is one for the books. The reveal of the top-to-bottom renovation of its Fifth Avenue flagship—yes, the one Audrey Hepburn eyed over coffee in Breakfast at Tiffany’s—which included virtually every A-lister (Gal Gadot! Katy Perry! Zoë Kravitz!) ranks as one of the starriest events of the year.
And now the latest Tiffany Blue Book Collection, representing its most precious high jewellery offerings, is further evidence that the brand is in the midst of a full-fledged renaissance, one that leans into its history, albeit with an ultra-contemporary outlook. Out of the Blue is the first Blue Book collection created under the direction of Nathalie Verdeille, Tiffany’s Chief Artistic Officer of Jewellery and High Jewellery. The array is wholly inspired by Jean Schlumberger, specifically his affection for the sea and its wondrous creatures.
Not acquainted with the name Jean Schlumberger? Don’t worry. You know his work anyway. He was responsible for designing Tiffany’s (truly) iconic Bird on a Rock brooch. The design is exactly as described, a diamond-set bird perched atop a rock, though the ones Schlumberger employed were spectacular gems like colored diamonds, aquamarines and opals. Those with a comprehensive knowledge of jewellery already know the self-taught, French-born creative collaborated with Schiaparelli in the 1930s and opened his own New York City boutique before becoming a signature designer for Tiffany & Co. in 1956. His fantastical, richly textured work, like paillonné enamel bangles and floral collars studded with diamonds, won over mid-20th century doyennes, from Jacqueline Kennedy to Bunny Mellon. And let’s not forget the new breed of sophisticates who have adopted the Schlumberger style: Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar are among the stars who have recently worn Tiffany jewels he designed.
With Out of the Blue, the largest Blue Book collection ever, Tiffany riffs on Schlumberger’s signatures—contrasting yellow gold and platinum, audacious volumes, and a sense of movement—though they are entirely new designs. Verdeille created a series of masterpieces that capture the kind of work that Schlumberger would make today. And the underwater theme calls out some of Schlumberger’s earliest inspirations, kindled, at least in part, by the nature he observed from his Caribbean home and studio in Guadeloupe and during travels to locales like Thailand and Sri Lanka.
The collection is a union of modern technique and high artistry, divided into seven themes (shell, coral, jellyfish, pisces, starfish, sea star, and sea urchin). A diamond necklace dangling a shell pendant can be worn in four ways, including as a detachable brooch is both fantastical and practical. The abstracted, asymmetrical form of a coral encrusted with diamonds is the brilliant backdrop for luminous sapphires.
And a sea urchin ring with a fancy intense purplish pink diamond weighing over three carats at its center is a spiky beauty that looks polished and punk—just the thing to entice current-day high jewellery collectors to take a plunge into the world of Schlumberger.