History Of The Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring

Before the little blue box became the ubiquitous symbol for luxury, love and diamonds, Charles Lewis Tiffany borrowed $1,000 from his father and opened a small stationery and fancy goods store in downtown Manhattan.

On their first day of business in 1837 sales totaled $4.98 — which would be around $100 today. A lesson in persistence and vision, Mr. Tiffany did not let meager first day sales slow him down. Over a century and a half later, the multi-billion dollar company has 290 stores worldwide and is one of the world’s most well-known and prominent retailers.

The original Tiffany Building at 15 Union Square West was built in 1870. Tiffany & Co. moved to Fifth Avenue and 37th Street in 1905 in a building also designed by Stanford White. The Union Square building was remodeled in 1953, stripping off all the original cast-iron ornamentation. In 2006 the building was sold to developers who then stripped it down to the bones. A modern glass condo building with very high priced apartments now occupies the site.

Mr. Tiffany began acquiring treasures from around the world and focused on distinguishing himself from his competition. His eye for the exotic and his appreciation for craftsmanship and quality catapulted Tiffany & Co. to success, and by the late 19th century the company had won numerous prizes at the Paris World’s Fair and became the go-to jeweler for crowned heads of state across Europe and Asia.

Quality and innovative craftsmanship was, and still is, a hallmark of the brand. During his tenure at the helm, Mr. Tiffany was able to acquire some of the world’s largest gemstones, cutting them for brilliance rather than carat weight. Today, the house’s commitment to quality remains, as their jewelry is only set with the most brilliant and high quality stones.

Tiffany’s quickly became a preeminent source for luxury jewelry and objects, which of course, included engagement rings. One of their most important innovations came in 1886 when Mr. Tiffany unveiled a cutting edge mounting that featured an elevated prong setting which lifted the diamond off the band, allowing for light to pass underneath the stone, creating maximum brilliance and sparkle. This design revolutionized the world of engagement rings, securing Tiffany’s place as a premier bridal joaillier.

Erstwhile’s collection of Tiffany & Co. engagement rings includes pieces set in their namesake setting, along with other styles from the Edwardian and Art Deco periods. Our collection varies from the classic to the ornate, but all Tiffany & Co. rings have one thing in common, a rich legacy…and a whole lot of sparkle!

Images from Tiffany & Co.

Shop the Story