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.
You need only hold any of the Tiffany & Co. masterpieces to believe in the magic these jewels offer. The timeless simplicity of the six-prong Tiffany® Setting marries tradition with contemporary attitude and the finest of quality: Tiffany & Co. diamonds are cut for beauty, not size, a sacrifice the jeweler makes to ensure the utmost brilliance of each and every diamond that is labeled a Tiffany & Co. object.
“Every Tiffany setting is unique, just like the bride who wears one,” says Jon King, Tiffany’s Executive Vice President. “We cut the stones for optimal brilliance and pay special attention to proportion and scale to create the absolute perfect ring. From the design, to the craftsmanship, to the little Blue Box, Tiffany symbolizes nothing but the best when it comes to love’s ultimate statement.”
To this day, a Tiffany diamond ring remains one of the most sought-after and prominent symbols of love. From the famed Tiffany Diamond that appeared in publicity shots for Breakfast at Tiffany’s—its 128.54 blazing carats making it one of the largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds in the world—to the 10-carat yellow diamond necklace worn by Kate Winslet on the red carpet at the 2010 Oscars, Tiffany & Co. creations have been immortalized in film, art and literature.
“The Tiffany engagement ring has withstood the test of time,” Fasel says. “Brilliant simplicity to wear every day of your life. The Tiffany® Setting is iconic to this day,” she says. “If brides don’t have a ring like that, they are not engaged!”
Indeed, no diamond speaks of true love like a Tiffany diamond and no engagement ring says I love you in quite the same way. So if you want to pamper your partner and reaffirm your commitment to your lover, there is no finer moment to celebrate, and no more perfect proposal.
Image Credits: © Tiffany & Co.