Tiffany & Co. is celebrating its 175th anniversary. At left is the Tiffany Setting Engagement Ring, a design classic. The diamond is held away from the band by six prongs, which allows more light through the stone.
Diamonds represent about a quarter of Tiffany & Co.'s $3.6 billion in annual sales.
Using a $1,000 loan, Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young opened a stationery and dry goods store on Broadway in Lower Manhattan in 1837. Young soon bowed out, but Tiffany proved to be a marketing genius. He hired some of the best American silversmiths, whose sumptuous pieces started winning international prizes and can now be found in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
By the mid-1800s, Tiffany jewelry was all the rage.
(Left: Jean Schlumberger's finished Plumes necklace of diamonds and colored gemstones.)
Company founder Charles Lewis Tiffany is seen at his Union Square store c. 1899, at the age of 87. He is with Charles T. Cook, who took over the company's leadership after Tiffany died in 1902.
The original cash book records show Tiffany & Co.'s first-day sales of $4.98.
Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902), the co-founder of Tiffany & Co.
Paulding Farnham's original drawing of the Aztec collar, designed for the 1900 Paris Exposition.
Paloma Picasso's drawing of her Octagon pendant with notes, as sketched on hotel stationery.
A seed pearl necklace and brooch purchased by President Abraham Lincoln for his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, for the Inaugural Ball of 1861.
Even Abraham Lincoln knew just where to buy seed pearls for his wife to wear at his inauguration. According to legend, Lincoln asked Charles Tiffany if the President of the United States got a discount. The reply: "I'm terribly sorry, but no one gets a discount at Tiffany and Co."
A diamond and emerald brooch from Tiffany's, a purchase of the French Crown Jewels, dated 1878.
Tiffany engagement rings, in platinum and 18 karat yellow gold. Clockwise from top: Tiffany Setting, the Jean Schlumberger Rope ring, the Tiffany Novo, the Tiffany Bezet, the Tiffany Legacy, the Lucida, a cushion-cut yellow diamond ring, the Jean Schlumberger engagement ring, and the Tiffany Embrace.
Lady Bird Johnson worked closely with Tiffany's in the design of White House china, which incorporated hand-painted wildflowers.
Earrings of fancy intense yellow diamonds framed by brilliant-cut diamonds in platinum, inspired by a 1925 design.
Designer Jean Schlumberger's sketch for his Lotus bracelet of paillonne enamel, diamonds, sapphires, lapis lazuli and 18 karat gold.
The Lotus bracelet with paillonne enamel, 18k gold vines and leaves, platinum-set diamond and lapis lazuli seedpods and cabochon sapphires, by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany enameled orchid brooches with diamonds in 18 karat gold.
Paloma Picasso's Graffiti pin in diamonds and 18 karat gold, and Love & Kisses bracelet in sterling silver.
Tiffany locks pictured on an oval link bracelet, from left: Vintage lock in sterling silver and 18 karat rose gold; heart lock in 18 karat rose gold; arc lock in sterling silver; emblem lock in 18 karat yellow gold; and round lock in sterling silver.
Paloma's Zellige diamond and caenelian ring in 18 karat yellow gold by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co.
Atlas Diamond Ring in 18k white gold; the Atlas Diamond Open Circle Pendant in 18k white gold; and the Atlas Diamond Bar Pendant in 18k white gold.
The Loving Heart pendant in 18k white gold with diamonds by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany morganite and diamond pendants in 18 karat rose gold and platinum, from left: Briolette drop pendant, and oval pendant.
Oiseau de Paradis clip with aquamarine, emerald, amethyst, diamond, and sapphires set in platinum and 18 karat yellow gold by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.
Elsa Peretti Doughnut bangles in lacquer, sterling silver and 18 karat gold.
Elsa Peretti Bone cuff in sterling silver and 18 karat gold.
Jean Schlumberger's colorful enamel bracelets.
Diamonds by the Yard bracelets, earrings, necklace and pendants in sterling silver by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co.
Paloma Picasso Sugar Stacks rings, featuring (from top) rubellite, peridot, orange chalcedony, amethyst and citrine in 18 karat yellow gold.
Kate Winslet wore a Tiffany Art Deco-inspired yellow diamond necklace, 10-carat yellow diamond earrings and yellow diamond bracelets, to the Academy Awards on March 7, 2010.
Actress Natalie Portman wore a Tiffany diamond necklace, oval diamond stud earrings and Metro diamond ring to the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, January 16, 2011.
Emma Stone is bedecked in stones - Luce diamond drop earrings in 18k gold by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co., and diamond rings by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. - at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, Jan. 29, 2012.
Cameron Diaz wears an emerald-cut diamond necklace, Lucida diamond stud earrings, a dome-shaped round diamond ring, a diamond band ring and a cushion-cut yellow sapphire ring with diamonds by Tiffany & Co., at the 84th Academy Awards, February 26, 2012, in Los Angeles.
The famous Tiffany's blue used in all the packaging? It was chosen because it was the favorite color of Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III.