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. ■