Tiffany & Co.'s debut Blue Book released back in 1845, just eight years after the founding of the company itself. There was no poetry in the title initially - it really was an annual catalog presented in a blue cover with new unique decorations inside. And not only decorations: each book reflected the fashion of its era: one could find here a fan made of silver with mother-of-pearl (1845), and precious theater glasses (1890), and a bicycle made of sterling silver (1894). All the famous designers of the American house have noted their chapter in the Blue Book: here you have Donald Claflin, Paloma Picasso, Jean-Michel Schlumberger, and Elsa Peretti … The last two chapters of the "book" essays) - in 2015 and 2016 - written by the then directorTiffany & Co. designed by Francesca Amphitheatroph, they were called The Art of The Sea and The Art of Transformation. Further, the "transformation" took place in the company itself: Amphitheatrof finished work at the jewelry house, and on February 1 of this year, Reed Krakoff took over as the company's creative director.
The new Blue Book now unveiled has a lot from Francesca (and the collection has become her swan song as Artistic Director of Tiffany & Co.), but most importantly, it still has the most from Tiffany & Co. After all, no matter how any designer rethinks the company's heritage, over the years the jewelry house has retained its unique and recognizable style, even though the book was always written in different handwriting.
Among the hallmarks of the new Blue Book are cocktail rings with a central stone framed by an intricate floral motif © Tiffany & Co. Press Office
The 2017 edition is named The Art of the Wild, inspired by the Tiffany & Co.drew from the wild. They decided to divide the "book" into six parts: Whispers of the Rain Forest ("Whisper of the rain forest"), Miracle Berry ("Magic berry"), The Falls ("Waterfalls"), Leaves of the Sun ("Leaves of the sun"), Feathered Cloak ("Cloak of feathers") and seemingly the most blurred and all-embracing, but in fact refers to the second name of the tropical flower of the New World of Brunfelsia - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow ("Yesterday, today, tomorrow"). And although each chapter has its own themes and symbols - intertwined leaves in Whispers of the Rain Forest, bright colors and cabochons of exotic berries in Miracle Berry, asymmetry and cascades in The Falls - this division is still rather arbitrary, all chapters of the collection are mixed as lush wild forest. Not only diamond waterfalls cascade here,one of the most spectacular items is a voluminous platinum necklace with diamonds and many gold leaf pendants, somewhat reminiscent of the aesthetics of tribal jewelry or even traditional skirts of American tribes. In different parts of the collection there are wide rigid bracelets and large cocktail rings. Among the features of the new Blue Book are cocktail rings with a central stone, which is framed by an intricate floral motif.
© Tiffany & Co. Press Office
And everywhere there are rare stones. According to the chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co.and Vice President of High Jewelry Melvin Curtley: “We are looking for perfect diamonds and colored gemstones all over the world … We are not just looking for some new or interesting stones, we always strive to find the best of existing.” Among the results of aspirations - 54-carat rubellite in a bracelet from Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, amazingly selected yellow diamonds in earrings from Whispers of the Rain Forest to create the effect of degradation, magnificent pearls of the South Seas … From gemological rarities - elbaite, a valuable variety of tourmaline. It is distinguished by its multi-color with transitions from green to red, pink, blue (transitions of other shades are less common). A 13-carat elbaite became the center of a ring from the Feathered Cloak part, and another elbaite adorned a bird brooch from the same part of the collection.These beautiful exotic birds are rare representatives of the fauna in the collection. They, as well as butterflies and dragonflies, can be seen on the jewelry watches presented along with the jewelry.Tiffany & Co. seems to have seriously delved into the topic of wildlife and found himself absolutely in his element.
On the eve of the premiere of the new Blue Book, talked about it with Melvin Curtley, chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. and VP of High Jewelery.
- When and how did the work on the new collection start?
- A little over a year ago. For us, the normal cycle for creating a Blue Book collection is from one year to 18 months. It all starts with the search for interesting stones, of course, we work in close contact with the design team. Jewelry is created in different ways: for some, we first find an interesting stone, and then designers come up with a design for them, while other stones we, on the contrary, look for a sketch already made by designers.
We look through thousands of stones to find the only one suitable.
- How many decorations in the new The Art of The Wild were created around stones?
- Some. For example, a 26-carat fancy vivid yellow cushion-cut diamond was designed with a palm leaf ring. Or a 51-carat Ceylon unheated blue sapphire - it was also made the centerpiece of the ring and surrounded by pavé diamonds. Usually such large rare stones are set in a necklace, but we decided that it should be a ring - the person who buys it should see it on himself all the time, admire its beauty.
- Did you look for all these stones specifically for the collection, or, as is the case with many jewelry houses, were some of them lying in the safe and waiting in the wings - a suitable idea, a suitable design?
- All were found for The Art of The Wild, and this is a common practice for us. There are, of course, exceptions, but rarely.
- What is the main difference between the Tiffany & Co. approach to you? to the choice of stones in comparison with other jewelry houses?
- We have stricter selection! We are always looking for the best of things, but other houses - and especially with colored gemstones - often make compromises. They can, for example, use stones with inclusions that are completely unacceptable for us. In addition, all stones undergo a lot of laboratory tests, not all of them examine them so thoroughly.
- During your years at Tiffany & Co. What stones would you highlight as the most incredible ones that you have seen?
- Of course, there are a lot of them! And it is very difficult to choose - but still I will try. The first one that comes to mind is a blue-green diamond, it was straight Tiffany color ! We gave it the name Tiffany Anniversary Blue. And they installed a ring in a very laconic design.
- After you started working at Tiffany & Co., you were engaged in sales, and then you became a gemologist, right?
- Yes! I became a gemologist precisely because I started at Tiffany & Co. I was fascinated by gems! So I decided to go to study at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
- What are your personal favorite pieces of jewelry in the new collection?
- The sapphire ring, which I have already mentioned, and besides, the bird brooches, they are amazing. They have character and the workmanship is incredible. For me, these are not just brooches, but miniature sculptures. I would like to have one - I would not wear it, of course, I would put it on a pillow on the table next to the bed and admire it. In the morning, can you imagine how pleasant it is to wake up?
- Do you buy a lot of uncut stones and do you re-cut a lot for decoration?
- We buy diamonds uncut and work on them ourselves, while colored gemstones - only cut.
- You are English, what was it like to move to New York for work? Did you feel like you were in the song "Englishman in New York"?
- I felt it! But in London I feel like a New Yorker now. For me, moving to the USA and starting work at Tiffany & Co. became a very special experience, I do not regret my choice at all! There are very few companies in the world that offer both fashion jewelry for several hundred dollars and high jewelry for millions. Tiffany & Co. this is truly unique.>