In 1837, Charles Louis Tiffany and John B. Young founded Tiffany, Young and Ellis, a stationery item and fancy goods emporium in New York City. The name was later shortened to Tiffany & Company when Charles Tiffany took control of the company in 1853 and redirected its focus to the jewelry portion of the business. There were a few signature differences between Tiffany & Company and other stores of its time, namely that Tiffany’s prices were clearly marked so that no haggling was entertained, and they only accepted cash (not credit) for purchases.
During the Civil War, in 1862, Tiffany & Company supported the Union Army by supplying swords, flags and surgical supplies. Five years later, in 1867, Tiffany & Co. achieved international recognition by receiving an award for excellence in silverware at the Exposition Universelle (world’s fair) in Paris. A year later, in 1868, Tiffany & Co. was incorporated.
In 1870, Tiffany & Co. opened a store uptown on 15 Union Square West. Named a “palace of jewels” by The New York Times, this posh new store was designed by premiere architect John Kellum and cost $500,000 to construct. Tiffany & Co. would remain at this location until 1906.
Tiffany & Company forever became part of the New York culture when, in 1877, the company designed an insignia that was stamped on a silver medal of valor made to honor members of the city’s police force. This insignia would later become the famous “NY” logo used by the New York Yankees, who adopted it in 1909.
At the Paris Exposition of 1878, the Tiffany & Co. name continued to garnish praise in the form of a gold medal awarded for jewelry, and a grand prize for silverware. The legacy of the company continued to expand when, in 1885, Tiffany & Co. was contracted to revise the Great Seal of the United States. Two years later, in 1887, the company bought the French Crown Jewels, a purchase that gained the world’s attention and gained Tiffany & Co. a reputation for quality diamonds.
After Charles Lewis Tiffany’s death in 1902, his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, took over the business in his official role as its first Design Director. Tiffany's flagship store, located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, has been in operation since 1940. Its graceful exterior of limestone, granite and marble, this iconic store a perfect background for the famous window displays that Tiffany’s is known for. As such, the store has been used as a backdrop for several films, most notable among them the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn.
What began as one location in Lower Manhattan expanded as Tiffany & Company opened stores all over the world since its inception in 1837. At present, Tiffany & Company operates over 289 stores worldwide, the majority of which are in the U.S. Tiffany & Company also publishes a mail order catalogue, dubbed the “Blue Book,” which began its publication in 1845 and has continued its circulation on into today. The Tiffany name is known the world over for the timeless, simple beauty of its jewelry, with famous designs that include the Tiffany bracelet, the Tiffany Lock necklace, and the Tiffany Flower ring.