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The bling lover’s dream that is the Tif­fany & Co. Blue Book.

lThe Blue Book collection re­de­fines the term “jew­ellery up­grade.” BY NOREEN FLANA­GAN

ook­ing through the an­nual Tif­fany & Co. Blue Book cat­a­logue is like watch­ing a fire­works show, ex­plained Jon King, the com­pany’s charm­ing ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent. “You keep point­ing to each piece and say­ing ‘Oh, that’s my favourite! No, that one! No, this one!’ That’s the Blue Book ex­pe­ri­ence.” The book, which is re­leased an­nu­ally, show­cases one-of-a-kind pieces that Tif­fany & Co. of­fers to its top 250 clients around the world. The com­pany has been send­ing it to loyal cus­tomers since 1845, when the founder, Charles Lewis Tif­fany, started the first mail-or­der cat­a­logue in the United States. To­day, col­lec­tors are also in­vited—by ap­point­ment only—to New York to view the collection at the iconic Fifth Av­enue store. The night be­fore the of­fi­cial un­veil­ing, a few of this year’s 98 pieces were on dis­play at an exclusive party held at the Guggen­heim Mu­seum. h

“There’s fierce com­pe­ti­tion for the first ap­point­ment, but it’s all very civ­i­lized,” said King. “The clients have stud­ied the cat­a­logue, and they ar­rive with pages that have been ear­marked or tagged. If they’ve fallen in love with a piece and it’s al­ready spo­ken for, it can be dis­ap­point­ing be­cause there’s only one.”

Such was the case for the 10.74-carat emer­ald-cut di­a­mond that caught my eye. “It’s al­ready on some­one’s wish list,” King told me. “The Tif­fany de­sign­ers who work on these pieces spend so much time with them that they re­ally be­come their chil­dren. They al­ways want to know ev­ery de­tail about who bought it, why she loves it and where she is go­ing to wear it.”

A few of their “chil­dren” have al­ready made some im­pres­sive red-car­pet ap­pear­ances. Amy Adams, Jes­sica Biel and Cather­ine Martin all bor­rowed Blue Book-collection jewels for their Os­car out­ings ear­lier this year. Martin, who had col­lab­o­rated with Tif­fany & Co. for its Great Gatsby collection, chose the Ar­rows clip. “Cather­ine is a sto­ry­teller by na­ture—so when she saw this pin, she looked at it and said, ‘I’m not sure what, but there’s some­thing very in­ter­est­ing go­ing on here,’” re­called King.

The piece is a re­pro­duc­tion of a pin that Jean Sch­lum­berger cre­ated in 1947 for Stan­dard Oil heiress Mil­li­cent Rogers.

“This work re­ally cap­tures Jean’s aes­thetic,” said King. “His whole sen­si­bil­ity was the fu­sion of na­ture and dreams. He dreamed in tech­ni­colour. He was also in­trigued by the en­ergy and ten­sion in na­ture where noth­ing is sym­met­ri­cal, noth­ing is neat or or­derly. What’s in­ter­est­ing is that he used a gem­stone that we wouldn’t con­sider pre­cious—it’s not a pur­ple di­a­mond. I think he loved the para­dox of us­ing this coloured stone in con­trast with the ex­trav­a­gance of all the gold.”

Sch­lum­berger was also known to in­fuse his pieces with iconog­ra­phy that height­ened their emo­tional ap­peal. Diana Vree­land once told John Lor­ing, Tif­fany & Co.’s de­sign di­rec­tor emer­i­tus, that the Tro­phy clip Sch­lum­berger de­signed for her was based on a gal­lantry tro­phy she had ad­mired on a statue of the Pol­ish king Stanis­laus. “I adore this clip,” she said. “I stand it on my bed­side ta­ble at night. I never part with it be­cause of all it rep­re­sents to me: gal­lantry, the war that men fight for the safety of all beau­ti­ful women in dan­ger.” Jean Sch­lum­berger can come to my res­cue any day. ■

Sch­lum­berger de­signed this Tro­phy clip for his friend Diana Vree­land. Like the Ar­rows clip, there’s a myth­i­cal qual­ity to its de­sign.

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