Monday September 3, 2012
The Story Of Tiffany & Co.
When you mention or hear the word Tiffany & Co. images of grand luxury jewelry, stationery, fragrances and other personal accessories come to mind. But the story behind this multi-million dollar company is a story of risk-taking, thrilling discoveries and staunch dedication to design excellence.
The story of Tiffany & Co. is also one of the rise of American wealth and society, whose idea of luxury was shaped by one man, Charles Lewis Tiffany.
At the age of 25, Charles Tiffany opened a "stationery and fancy goods" store in Broadway, New York. As the city grew, so did his budding enterprise. In fact Tiffany did so well that he built a mansion for his family at 72ns Street and Madison Avenue in 1885. The house was decorated by his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the foremost American designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a leader in the Art Nouveau movement.
While his father's illustrious company won gold medals at the great exposition in America and Europe, young Louis Tiffany forged his own part to success. "LCT" as he has fondly known, was revered for his stained-glass lamps and windows that continue their extraordinary celebrity in museums and auction houses. This prolific artist also produced a breathtaking array of jewelry, enamels, ceramics and precious objects inspired by natural forms, including fruits, flowers, birds and insects.
The Splendor Of Laurelton Hall
A designer who explored the beauty of nature and exotic cultures, Louis Comfort Tiffany was drawn to Long Island's North Shore, where he oversaw the construction of a lavish estate which he named Laurelton Hall. Built between 1902 and 1905, the estate included an 84-room mansion, with terraced gardens and fountains, stables, tennis courts and greenhouses.
Laurelton Hall's architecture and interiors highlights LCT's artistic influences from the hauntingly powerful abstract patterns of ancient Egypt, Byzantium and Moghul India to the graphic disorder of nature. These patterns embellish a loggia with great floral capitals, and are reflected in priceless stained glass windows and Favrile glass vases, all of which are on permanent view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Laurelton Hall was the scene of memorable fetes and balls, where guests dressed in elaborate costumes to celebrate LCT's magical world. Destroyed by fire in 1957, the estate represents a fascinating chapter in the history of American decorative arts.
At the death of his father, Louis was appointed the company's first designer director.
Today, 175 years after its founding, Tiffany & Co. is one of the world's premier jewelers, acclaimed for the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship, and a style that is legendary.