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Why have many women have been left… Breathless at Tiffany’s

Big girls need big diamonds, Elizabeth Taylor once said. And, for nearly 200 years, they have known exactly where to go for them — straight to the baby-blue padded cabinets of Tiffany & Co.

Over the past year, however, not all has been well for this iconic American jewellery brand, which has 300 outlets across the globe, including 12 in the UK. 

A downturn in tourist spending, the strong U.S. dollar, business disruptions in Hong Kong and the trade war between the U.S. and China have resulted in crisis for the company.

Tiffany is perhaps the most famous jewellers in the world, an iconic brand that has been celebrated over the years in literature, music and film

This week, the former family firm was sold to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the luxury goods conglomerate led by the world’s second-richest man, Bernard Arnault.

He sent Tiffany a letter last month proposing an all-cash takeover bid, and the £13 billion deal has now been sealed. 

Some might say it was cheap at this price — for LVMH is buying a silver-plated slice of history.

Tiffany is perhaps the most famous jewellers in the world, an iconic brand that has been celebrated over the years in literature, music and film.

In the company’s glory days, Hollywood stars and celebrities including Greta Garbo, Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor all wore and loved Tiffany’s exquisite bling, while its flagship Manhattan store, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, became an attraction in itself.

With its grand exterior, the store has appeared in films such as Sweet Home Alabama, with Reese Witherspoon and Sleepless In Seattle

 With its grand exterior, the store has appeared in films such as Sweet Home Alabama, with Reese Witherspoon and Sleepless In Seattle

With its grand exterior, the store has appeared in films such as Sweet Home Alabama, with Reese Witherspoon; Sleepless In Seattle, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan; and For Love Or Money, with Michael J. Fox.

Yet it is, of course, with Breakfast At Tiffany’s that the store and the company itself are most memorably intertwined.

Picture this: as the sun rises on a New York morning after the night before, a young woman in a black Givenchy dress steps out of a taxi. Her hair is swept into an updo, pinned in place by a tiara comb. A ruff of costume pearls sits on her beautiful neck.

She pauses on the empty Fifth Avenue sidewalk in front of the store and takes a long look at her favourite place in the whole of Manhattan, perhaps even the world. As she approaches its glittering windows, she fishes a cup of coffee and a pastry out of a paper bag.

And there it is: one of the most unforgettable moments in cinematic history. Holly Golightly is having breakfast at Tiffany’s.

In the celebrated film of the Truman Capote novel, Holly, played by Audrey Hepburn, believed Tiffany’s was so special that ‘nothing very bad could happen to you there’.

And there it is: one of the most unforgettable moments in cinematic history. Holly Golightly is having breakfast at Tiffany's

And there it is: one of the most unforgettable moments in cinematic history. Holly Golightly is having breakfast at Tiffany’s

She also believed it was ‘tacky’ to wear diamonds before the age of 40. Elizabeth Taylor might have begged to differ.

Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837, Tiffany & Co became so much more than just a shop that sold sparklers and many of the finer things in life. 

Generations of young women yearned for Tiffany diamonds — preferably in the form of an engagement ring — to begin the rest of their lives.

Tiffany has also designed and made some of the sporting trophies held dear by Americans, including the Super Bowl (an American football on a plinth, made from 7 lb of sterling silver) and the U.S. Open tennis trophies.

Today, the legacy of Tiffany & Co runs through the tapestry of American life like a sparkling ribbon. 

Even its packaging is celebrated and envied. Every purchase, from chandeliers to cocktail watches, is wrapped in trademark duck egg-blue boxes, tied with white satin ribbon. The only deviation is at Christmas, when festive red ribbons are used. Isn’t that just darling?

Even its packaging is celebrated and envied. Every purchase, from chandeliers to cocktail watches, is wrapped in trademark duck egg-blue boxes

Even its packaging is celebrated and envied. Every purchase, from chandeliers to cocktail watches, is wrapped in trademark duck egg-blue boxes

Inevitably, such growth over the years has meant Tiffany has lost some of the hundred-carat cachet it once enjoyed.

Yet what other jewellery brand has such a glittering back-story and such a fabulous store?

The polished granite exterior of the flagship New York shop is gasping, with tiny windows sunk into the stone glowing with treasures. 

The hushed interior has soaring cliffs of wood panelling, while white-gloved polishers spend every day buffing the silverware. Unlike in the London flagship store, prices are on display. 

And that would be wise. For, even today, Tiffany retains an aura of sophistication and desirability, yet is somehow still gloriously inclusive

And that would be wise. For, even today, Tiffany retains an aura of sophistication and desirability, yet is somehow still gloriously inclusive

In London, you have to ask how much — and, as the saying goes, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.

Yet fans of Tiffany & Co can rest assured that it is in safe hands with LVMH, which tends to let the companies it owns — including Givenchy and Dior — continue doing their own thing.

And that would be wise. For, even today, Tiffany retains an aura of sophistication and desirability, yet is somehow still gloriously inclusive. 

A WIZARD FOR LIZ

Among the pieces in Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary hoard of jewels was this Night Of The Iguana brooch, designed by Tiffany jeweller Jean Schlumberger. 

It is made from diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. Richard Burton gave it to his new wife to wear at the premiere of the film of the same name, in which he starred. It sold for £930,000 at the auction of Taylor’s jewels in 2010.

Among the pieces in Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary hoard of jewels was this Night Of The Iguana brooch, designed by Tiffany jeweller Jean Schlumberger

Night Of The Iguana brooch, designed by Tiffany jeweller Jean Schlumberger

Among the pieces in Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary hoard of jewels was this Night Of The Iguana brooch, designed by Tiffany jeweller Jean Schlumberger

AUDREY HEPBURN 

She wore only costume jewels in the film Breakfast At Tiffany’s — that was all her character could afford. 

In one scene, Holly Golightly (Hepburn, above with George Peppard) admires the Tiffany Diamond Necklace (top) in a glass case in the new york store. 

The centrepiece is the famous 128-carat yellow Tiffany diamond, the finest canary diamond in the world, which is still owned by Tiffany and on display in the store. 

Hepburn did not wear the necklace in the film, but posed in it for publicity pictures. 

In one scene, Holly Golightly (Hepburn, above with George Peppard) admires the Tiffany Diamond Necklace (pictured) in a glass case in the new york store

In one scene, Holly Golightly (Hepburn, above with George Peppard) admires the Tiffany Diamond Necklace (pictured) in a glass case in the new york store

The centrepiece is the famous 128-carat yellow Tiffany diamond, the finest canary diamond in the world, which is still owned by Tiffany and on display in the store

The centrepiece is the famous 128-carat yellow Tiffany diamond, the finest canary diamond in the world, which is still owned by Tiffany and on display in the store

AND ALL THAT JAZZ 

Behold the astonishing ‘Jazz Age’ jewels worn by the character Daisy — played by Carrie Mulligan — in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. 

They were made for the film by Tiffany from contemporaneous designs they had in their vaults. 

Incidentally, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote the classic novel, was also a Tiffany & Co customer.

Behold the astonishing 'Jazz Age' jewels worn by the character Daisy — played by Carrie Mulligan — in Baz Luhrmann's 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby

Behold the astonishing ‘Jazz Age’ jewels worn by the character Daisy — played by Carrie Mulligan — in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby

JUST THE TICKET FOR JACKIE

Style icon Jackie Kennedy proudly wears the Ruby Two Fruit brooch clip, also designed by Schlumberger, which her husband Jack (JFK) bought for her to celebrate the birth of their first child, John Junior. 

Style icon Jackie Kennedy proudly wears the Ruby Two Fruit brooch clip, also designed by Schlumberger

Style icon Jackie Kennedy proudly wears the Ruby Two Fruit brooch clip, also designed by Schlumberger

TOKEN PRESIDENT OF ABE’S ESTEEM 

Abraham Lincoln wanted the best for his wife so, in 1862, the then President bought a Tiffany seed-pearl necklace, brooch and earrings for Mary (above) to wear to his inaugural ball.

Abraham Lincoln wanted the best for his wife

The then President bought a Tiffany seed-pearl necklace, brooch and earrings for Mary (above) to wear to his inaugural ball

Abraham Lincoln wanted the best for his wife so, in 1862, the then President bought a Tiffany seed-pearl necklace, brooch and earrings for Mary (right) to wear to his inaugural ball 

He bought her a Tiffany seed-pearl necklace, brooch and earrings for Mary (above) to wear to his inaugural ball

He bought her a Tiffany seed-pearl necklace, brooch and earrings for Mary (above) to wear to his inaugural ball

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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