Inside the New Tiffany & Co. Diamond Jewelry Exhibit at Saatchi Gallery in London
“Vision & Virtuosity” lets visitors see Tiffany’s most famous stones up close.By Lisa Levinson |
This summer, Americana luxury is getting immersive, thanks to Tiffany & Co.’s exciting traveling exhibition. And at its first stop—London’s Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square—The Natural Diamond Council got an exclusive tour from none other than Tiffany & Co.’s Head Gemologist, Victoria Reynolds.
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The first woman to hold the prestigious position, Reynolds explained how the exhibition’s seven spectacular rooms each represent another intimate facet of the iconic jewelry house and the innovation it has become synonymous with over the past 185 years and counting. Of course this all follows an eventful couple of years at Tiffany & Co., where the new LVMH owners have brought the company even closer to its core iconic status.
In the spirit, the brand’s iconography is truly everywhere here. And it’s blended with the signature sense of irreverence presented in recent marketing campaigns including “Not Your Mother’s Diamond”, and the April’s fools that declared yellow to be the new Tiffany Blue.
Here, one room magically transports visitors from London to Tiffany & Co.’s flagship 5th Avenue store, where a yellow taxi for photo ops awaits. Perched under the stop lights, attendees are in arm’s reach of the original transcripts for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, written by Truman Capote and scribbled on by Audrey Hepburn with Tiffany Blue ink. Also on display is the little black Givenchy dress Hepburn wore as Holly Golightly and photos from Marilyn Monroe’s iconic role in Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
Love—in the form of the Tiffany engagement ring—takes precedent in another room featuring a romantic blue dreamscape. Here, giant platinum and natural diamond rings—including the classic Tiffany Setting (a six prong solitaire natural diamond ring that is almost synonymous with the notion of an engagement ring), Charles Tiffany Setting (a more substantial design with beveled edges that has widened the audience for natural diamond engagement rings) and beyond are on display.
In the diamond room, between one of the actual French Crown Jewels and century-old hair ornaments, Reynolds points out a necklace. She describes the piece as an example of masterful craftsmanship, where 237 natural diamonds have been custom-cut to create the appearance of broken ice. The depth of the diamonds is calibrated to capture a view into the stones themselves, rather than distracting the viewer with the reflections and refractions of ordinary cuts. The necklace clearly holds a space in Reynolds’s heart; her intimate relationship with the piece allows a glimpse into the bond between Tiffany & Co.’s experts and its creations.
Set apart from the ocean of jewels of the diamond room is The Empire Diamond. The 80 carat perfectly flawless and colorless oval natural diamond is the most expensive jewel ever created by Tiffany & Co. After all, the necklace bridges continents and time eras. The design is inspired by a piece created for the 1939 New York’s World Fair, with strong and bold Art Deco influences. This American era of exuberance is complemented by a modern-day equivalent in the enormous natural diamond.
This gemstone shines so bright that photographers at the exhibit were forced to dial down their exposure to only partially capture its brightness. The showstopping stone originates from the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, a country flourishing on the back of diamonds, where 80% of the proceeds of natural diamond mining remain locally to empower and build society.
The exhibition’s grand finale: an intimate, close-up view of the huge yellow Tiffany Diamond, likely the most beautiful diamond visitors will encounter in their lifetime.
To celebrate the launch of the exhibit, Tiffany hosted a star-studded bash with Florence Pugh, Sabrina Elba, Bridgerton stars Simone Ashley and Nicola Couhlan and Tiffany ambassadors Rosé and Eileen Gu all in attendance.
Want to try some natural diamonds on for yourself? Just like browsing on a Tiffany & Co. show floor, exhibition visitors can enjoy a jewelry test-drive—however here, it’s in the form of virtual reality. “Shoppers” lit up with genuine smiles as they tried on intangible versions of the 128.54 carat yellow Tiffany Diamond, their photos captured on a bespoke app available only to attendees. All just inches away from the real thing, worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Gal Gadot. “This is my true north”, Reynold says. “It all starts and ends with this diamond”.
This exhibition brings a whole new meaning to the adage “exit through the gift shop”. Visitors can seat themselves in a gigantic blue Tiffany box for a memorable photo session or snap up a Tiffany Tote Bag (£32) and an exhibition book (£60) published by Assouline—also publisher of DIAMOND Stories.
But arguably the best purchase cannot be found in the gift shop, but in the diamond room itself. Reynolds remarked in front of the 80 carat Empire Diamond: “It’s for sale”.
Let this all just be a taste of what’s to come from Tiffany & Co. Alexandre Arnault, member of the new owner family says that the world will see much more of the jewelry house with this exhibition continuing to Japan next year followed by Europe and the Americas. Here’s hoping you get a chance to experience it for yourself.
VISION & VIRTUOSITY by TIFFANY & CO. is on showing at the Saatchi Gallery in London from the June 10 to August 19. Book tickets here.