The Tiffany Archives: A Book Unlike Any Other

Talk about treasure troves. When I first flipped through The Tiffany Archives, published by Steidl with photography by Henry Leutwyler it took me on a tour through the past and present of Tiffany & Co’s jewelry, silverware, decorative items, and so much more. What is most enchanting about the book is that it is not in chronological order or by classification but rather shown side by side from different periods and artistic mediums.

Christopher Young, vice president and creative director of creative visual merchandising and The Archives explains in his introduction, “The way in which the archivist value everything equally is illustrated with some democratic and delightful pairings. Disparate things such as a parasol and a necklace, a jewel and an invitation are placed side-by-side in spreads. The surprising juxtapositions also visually communicate the depth and breadth of Tiffany’s creations.” He goes on to explain, “Inheriting the cultural responsibility to preserve and document the many innovations of Tiffany’s myriad artists and designers, The Tiffany Archives also catalogs their sketchbooks and inspiration libraries as well as hundreds of thousands of works on paper that chronicle Tiffany & Co.’ storied continuance.”

In this jewel of a book, you will find World’s Fair records, sales catalogs and photographs that date back to the company’s origins.

Young also writes, “The purpose of The Tiffany Archives is not to serve the past. The Archives exists to inform the future. “

For jewelry enthusiasts, it reveals a selection never before seen or previously photographed pieces and sketches from the collections.

There are also Art Deco bracelets, Pauling Farnham’s orchids, an example of the French Crown Jewels, Jean Schlumberger’s first Bird on a Rock as well as pieces from the creative pioneers that worked with and for the company: Donald Claflin, Angela Cummings, Dr. George Fredrick Kunz, Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti and Palomo Picasso just to name a few of the Tiffany alums that all contributed to the success of the renowned house. There is also a nod to pop culture with photographs and anecdotes of the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tffanys and how the early catalogs turned into the iconic Blue Book.

My favorite parts of The Tiffany Archives, and I have many, are the sketches and drawings and the realization of many of them come to life.

The Tiffany Archives has been published in limited edition.

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