The enduring legacy of Tiffany & Co. rests in its popularization of the ritual of engagement ring-giving, transforming it into the romantic and sacred ceremony held so dear among couples all over the world today.
The first engagement ring on record was set with a diamond and given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg in 1477. However, it was Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis Tiffany who first introduced the extraordinary Tiffany® Setting to the jewelry world in 1886 that the trend of bestowing engagement rings to your lover really took off.
Before Tiffany's seminal ring was created, the diamonds of engagement rings were set in bezels. Mr. Tiffany’s ring, however, was scrupulously designed to show off the scintillating fire of exceptional diamonds. Tiffany's ground-breaking setting comprising six platinum prongs lifted the stone off the band, allowing maximium light to reflect off the stone.
“The simplicity of the style stood out at the turn-of-the-century,” says fine jewelry historian Marion Fasel. “Mr. Tiffany Americanized the concept of the engagement ring. He simplified it in the most direct, American way."
"While European women wore elaborate rings, Charles Lewis Tiffany understood that women really just wanted to see a beautiful stone that represented fidelity and an invincible relationship. He lifted the stone to the light in the purest and most romantic way."
The introduction of the revolutionary Tiffany® Setting, together with the purchase of the French Crown Jewels in 1887, solidified Tiffany’s reputation as the “King of Diamonds.” Of course, the jewelry house has since become synonymous with the finest gems and the sort of grand sweeping romance that has enthralled couples everywhere.