An unexpected palette of rare gemstones celebrates the enchanting beauty of the natural world in Tiffany & Co.’s 2021 Blue Book Collection. Allyson Klass discovers the exceptional pedigree of these coloured stones in this exclusive interview.
The most important – and most challenging – criteria is finding a gemstone that is truly exemplary, something that takes your breath away. It’s often more about a feeling you get, which can be very personal. Each gemstone needs to have something magical, an inner beauty that draws us in. Only then do we know that they are truly of Tiffany calibre.” This quote by Victoria Reynolds, chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co., perfectly sums up the luxury jeweller’s highly anticipated 2021 Blue Book Collection, Colors of Nature.
Beyond the technical innovation and masterful craftsmanship that demonstrate Tiffany & Co.’s virtuosity in high jewellery, the spectacular pieces shine a spotlight on the house’s authority in diamonds and its pedigree as a purveyor of coloured gemstones. Venturing outside of the more traditional vernacular of high jewellery, the astounding collection of 128 creations takes beholders on a kaleidoscopic journey through nature’s vibrant chromatic displays.
Showcasing strong, clean lines and ultra-contemporary designs, the collection comprises four overarching themes – Land, Sea, Sky and Earth. Verdant green tourmalines and rare Colombian emeralds are reminiscent of lush landscapes, while azure blue seas and the electric colour swatches of underwater fauna are realised in aquamarines, sapphires and tsavorites. Rare gems, including spinels as well as yellow and orange sapphires, depict otherworldly hues that light up the sky in designs inspired by the world above or the vibrant colours of Earth’s molten core.
This is the first time Tiffany is featuring coloured gemstones in an incredible range of shades and colours not often seen in high jewellery. “The entire collection showcases unique gemstone combinations,” Reynolds elaborates. “We’ve juxtaposed cushion, emerald and oval cuts on a multiple gemstone necklace; there are trapezoid diamonds that transition into graduated custom-cut sapphires on a green tourmaline necklace. These cuts are often used, but rarely in the arrangement that you see in Colors of Nature.”
An ode to nature
Encapsulating the collection’s prismatic spirit is a curated palette of gemstone varieties that encompasses a rainbow spectrum on two showstopping necklaces, which include the house’s legacy gems as a tribute. Reynolds explains: “Tiffany has a rich history of introducing rare gemstones to the world, and it’s always necessary to honour our legacy of discovery and these important ‘Tiffany firsts’.”
Animated by seven coloured gem varieties, one of the noteworthy pieces from the Earth line is a personal favourite of Reynolds: “The full spectrum of nature, from unexpected pairings of crisp greens and cerulean blues to golden oranges and ethereal pink gems, is brilliantly displayed in this exquisite necklace featuring over 278 total carats of coloured gemstones. It took over a year to curate this exceptional melange of stones spanning the full spectrum of stunning colours.”
Procuring the rarest, most beautiful and unusual gemstones required the chief gemologist to travel extensively to hand-select them. Often, these remarkable treasures inspire jewellery designs: “Sometimes we find the gemstones, and other times they magically find us. It can take years to find the perfect stone for a specific design, and other times, the stone reveals itself and we know right away that we have to have it.”
A prime example of an extraordinary find is a rare Melo Melo pearl weighing over 95 carats. Miracles of nature, it takes decades for these extremely rare non-nacreous pearls to grow naturally in the large gastropod mollusc, commonly known as melo melo sea snails. Only the finest possess a flame-like pattern, with less than 1 per cent exhibiting this quality. The Tiffany design team presents the precious vibrant orange bauble as a single magnificent drop on a sleek yellow gold and diamond necklace from the Sea range.
Another impressive specimen is set on a ring from the sub-theme, Land. “Exuding exceptional colour, this unenhanced orange sapphire of over 7 carats sparked the inspiration of the bee-inspired ring and honeycomb vessel. The warm honey-like colour of this sapphire found the perfect home in this lifelike 18k yellow gold honeycomb vessel that mimics the organic curvatures of a beehive found in nature.”
First introduced in Tiffany & Co.’s 2019 Blue Book Collection, Tiffany Jewel Box, the unique vessel like the creation above is one of just seven in the Colors of Nature collection. Handcrafted in various precious materials by the most experienced silversmiths at Tiffany’s legendary hollowware workshop on Rhode Island, each one completes the narrative around its accompanying jewellery piece, while at the same time allowing the owner to display it when not worn.
Reynolds tells the story of an extremely rare black opal ring of over 7 carats and its equally stunning bespoke box: “When you hold the vessel, it feels like you’ve discovered it in nature.” A beautiful work of art on its own, the one-of-a-kind trinket box was painstakingly constructed from more than 40 sheets of sterling silver that are coloured in black patina to replicate the sandstone in which the opal was discovered.
Another highlight – transformable pieces that allow for various modes of wear, making the designs versatile and extremely wearable. This flexibility affirms the house’s belief that extraordinary designs should not be reserved for extraordinary occasions. From the Sky range is a majestic yellow gold butterfly brooch created in a masterful juxtaposition of colour with purple sapphires and diamonds set in the unique cracked-ice cut that the house introduced in 2018. A gold hinge allows the wings to be manipulated into four positions that evoke the motion of flight.
Of course, no Tiffany high jewellery collection is complete without exquisite diamonds. As the first global luxury jeweller to disclose the full craftsmanship journey of its individually registered diamonds in 2020, an astounding stone from the Earth line is testament to the house’s commitment to transparency. Adds Reynolds: “We are very proud to showcase our Diamond Craft Journey with our spectacular D-colour, internally flawless marquise diamond of over 21 carats. The diamond featured in this exceptional necklace was responsibly sourced in Lesotho, Africa, cut and polished in Israel and set in our Tiffany Jewelry Workshop in New York.”
(All images: Tiffany & Co.)
This story was published in the April issue of Prestige Singapore.