Why Tiffany & Co is the High Jewellery Brand to Watch Now
With new leadership and new events, the American jeweller is primed to take over the high jewellery market.
French luxury conglomerate LVMH has been aggressively acquiring luxury’s most desirable names on an almost annual basis since it pocketed Bvlgari in 2011, with Tiffany & Co joining the family in 2020. And the acquisition seems to be beneficial for all — the group reported record sales from the jeweller in 2022 thanks to the success of the Tiffany Lock collection. But it is Tiffany’s high jewellery revenue that doubled within the last year. The American jeweller, known for extraordinary white diamonds and being the first global jeweller to offer total diamond traceability, is one of the most exciting brands to follow in the high jewellery space, and here’s why.
Argyle Pink Diamonds, the Ware on display at Diamonds & Wonders 2023 in Sydney (Photos: Tiffany & Co.)
IT ACQUIRED ONE OF THE RAREST COLLECTIONS OF PINK DIAMONDS IN THE WORLD
The Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia was the fourth biggest diamond-producing mine in the world by volume, but its biggest claim to fame was that it produced over 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds. Now that it’s closed, having finally exhausted its supply between 1983 and 2020, pink diamonds are about to get a whole lot rarer.
Which is why it’s incredible how Tiffany & Co was offered a bespoke curation of one of the last parcels of pink diamonds from the mine in 2022. The Argyle Pink Diamonds: The Tiffany Collection totalled 35 stones, with three of them over 1 carat. The remaining 32 ranged from 0.3 carats to 0.7 carats. These sizes may seem paltry but are significant for pink diamonds.
“You would never be able to find a five-carat Argyle. Mother Nature just wouldn’t present it,” explained Victoria Reynolds, chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. “To have one about a carat is incredibly rare, and to have them over one-and-a-half carats is super rare. There is maybe only a handful in the world over two carats.”
Most coloured diamonds get their hues from trace elements that interact with their carbon atoms during their formation. Nitrogen atoms will give you yellow or brown diamonds, while boron gives you blue ones, for example. Pink diamonds are a miraculous exception, as they gain their colour from intense heat and pressure that cause their crystal lattices to deform. Thanks to the displaced carbon atoms, these diamonds absorb green light and reflect it back to us as pink. It is these very same conditions that stop pink diamonds from getting very large.
The collection was presented to select clients at global Tiffany High Jewellery events this spring and was finally sold to a single collector for an undisclosed (but no doubt immoderate) price. The house is currently working on designs to turn the diamonds into three pieces of jewellery.
While it’s unfortunate that we may never see the final creations, it speaks to Tiffany’s reputation and expertise for having obtained the stones in the first place. This is in fact the first time that Rio Tinto, the mining group that operated the Argyle mine, has named a collection after a jewellery partner. So we’re expecting more great, glittering surprises in the future.
A WOMAN IS FINALLY LEADING THE GEM TEAM
The jewellery industry has historically been a male-dominated one, which is ironic considering how the end consumers are usually female. But the technical skill, manual dexterity, and science that goes on in the background of bejewelled creations were once thought to be in the purview of men.
In 2021, Tiffany appointed Victoria Reynolds as its first female chief gemologist in its 183-year history. Having worked at the company for over 30 years, Reynolds’ experience and dedication to sourcing the absolute best stones made her the obvious choice for the role. “You have to be passionate about this job because it’s not a nine-to-five. Being inquisitive also really helps. There are still plenty of things I don’t know, and that’s fine with me, because the fact that I get to learn every day is an extraordinary gift,” she said. “You also have to have a good eye for colour, and to be able to see and recognise beauty.” Reynolds was a diamond grader for Tiffany for four years and still operates as Vice President of High Jewellery.