Tiffany & Co. is considering the most expensive piece of jewelry ever offered for sale. The jeweler recently acquired an 80-carat, oval-shaped, D-colored, internally flawless diamond, and will mount it in a necklace inspired by a design that Tiffany originally designed for the 1939 World’s Fair. The finished necklace, currently in development, will be showcased next year when Tiffany & Co. unveils its fully refurbished flagship product in New York City.
Tiffany’s artistic director, Reed Krakoff, said the jeweler acquired this particular stone because “Tiffany is always looking for the most extraordinary stones available on the market. When something becomes available, it’s something we talk about and how we can present it in a special and unique way, talking about Tiffany’s legacy, history and artistry.
A spokesperson for Tiffany & Co. declined to comment on what the company paid for the diamond and the price of the necklace, but noted that it would safely hit the eight-figure range. The diamond was mined in Botswana, under conditions that meet Tiffany’s strict criteria for sustainability and humanity, has been cut and polished in Israel and will be set in New York. Tiffany is still in the process of preparing the necklace and it is not yet clear how many diamonds in total will be incorporated into the final design.
Speaking about the rarity of such a large stone and flawless inside, Natural Diamond Council CEO David Kellie said: “This is an extraordinary find. The number of gem-quality diamonds over five carats recovered on Earth in a year is very low. The incredible 80 carat cut combined with its D and impeccable internal quality make this particular diamond a true miracle of nature and one of the rarest diamonds ever discovered. Not only are diamonds one of nature’s most incredible creations, they are an integral part of the populations and economies of the countries where they are found. The sale of this diamond and all diamonds discovered in Botswana directly benefits the people and communities there, including the provision of infrastructure and a free education system.
When the 1939 World’s Fair was held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in New York’s Queens borough, Tiffany put on an extravagant display of new jewelry expressly designed in the American Art Deco aesthetic that Tiffany brought to life. developed its name. At the time, the necklace Krakoff was inspired by was set with a 200-carat aquamarine stone, 429 diamonds, and was priced at $ 28,000 (roughly $ 524,000 based on current value). ).
For Krakoff, the appeal of this archival design was abundant. It was revealed as part of the World’s Fair to mark the opening of Tiffany’s flagship product on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue – much like this new necklace will be revealed when that same building reopens after a long renovation. Tiffany’s flagship renovation is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
“There are a lot of amazing historic designs out there and we’re always looking at how we can reinvent them and bring them back to customers who didn’t know them. The 1939 World’s Fair necklace felt like it would work well with this extraordinary stone ladder – it would feel like it belonged instead of forcing a vintage design that wouldn’t necessarily complement it, ”said Krakoff.
The next New York World’s Fair was held in 1964 at the same location. Some of the futuristic structures designed by Philip Johnson and resulting from this event are still in total disrepair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The dilapidated pavilions, visible to most tourists to Manhattan from JFK Airport, have been the subject of political debate in recent years – an estimated cost of $ 75 million for restoration and a minimum of 14 million dollars for dismantling.
In recent times, fashion companies such as the Tod’s Group and Bulgari have paid money for the restoration of important public works. Krakoff declined to say whether Tiffany & Co. would help with the restoration of the remains of the World’s Fair, but said, “in terms of revisiting the facility itself, we’ll see in the future. It’s not something we want to reveal now, but there will be a full program around reimagining this [necklace] design.”
Memories of the World’s Fair may now be lost on young consumers or buyers in markets outside the United States, and Krakoff said it will be important to “connect more with the images and see the visuals of the exposure. I think people will understand the importance and scale of this important moment in design. “
While Tiffany’s next necklace will be unique and beyond the reach of most buyers, Krakoff said it was inevitable that the Art Deco design could have an effect on the jeweler’s future commercial collections.
“Often, these extraordinary projects lead to business ideas. I think the mere fact that we discovered this design and spent time with it will absolutely influence our commercial collections, whether literally or more stylistically, remains to be seen, ”said the designer.
The American Art Deco angle could be important for Tiffany as it falls under the bosom of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, in a $ 15.8 billion deal that was just approved by Tiffany shareholders this week. last. The deal is expected to be done on Thursday.
While Krakoff declined to comment on whether he has met with LVMH executives, it is understood that the luxury giant is hoping to take Tiffany more upscale and expand its global reach. With a stable of jewelers already in its ranks and many other competitors based in Europe, Tiffany’s status as an American heritage jeweler imbued with Art Deco refinement could be a differentiator for the brand in a wider global market.