The House that Diamonds BuiltMar 12th, 2018
Their names are synonymous with class, style, and opulence. From breakfast with the baby blue boxes to the red carpet royals of the 20th century, these landmark jewelry houses have shaped more than the jewelry industry, they have earned a place in pop culture history.
Tiffany & Co.
Founded in 1837, Tiffany & Co. got its start as a stationery and “fancy goods emporium” in Brooklyn, Connecticut. However, after Charles Tiffany became the primary owner of the business, the focus shifted to fine jewelry. And the world has never been the same.
In 1870, they made the great leap to their original Manhattan location at 15 Union Square West. Known as a palace of jewels, the building cost $500,000 – over $8.3 million in today’s currency – and attracted the rich, famous and fabulous from around the world. In the next decades, Tiffany & Co. would be called upon to revise the Great Seal of the United States and the United States Department of the Navy’s Medal of Honor.
In 1961, Tiffany & Co. was featured in the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s smash hit Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and in 1968, Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States, commissioned a White House china service. Truly, from the creation of the world’s most iconic engagement ring to the design of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, no conversation of landmark jewelry houses would be complete without Tiffany & Co.
Many jewelry connoisseurs consider Cartier to be the final word in sophistication. With a long history of being the first choice of royals, King Edward II of England once called Cartier, “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” In fact, Louis-François Cartier made his first royal sale in 1856, just 9 years after inheriting his Parisian workshop and founding the house of Cartier.
In 1899, Cartier moved to the permanent location, 13 Rue de la Paix in Paris, and in 1900 they opened their first international store in London. In 1910, Pierre Cartier sold the world’s most famous gemstone – the Hope Diamond. The house of Cartier became innovators in the world of wearable timepieces, creating the world’s first wristwatches in 1904, as well as the mystery pocket watch in 1931. Their list of royal clients grew annually until Cartier was the official purveyor to blue bloods as far-flung as Egypt and Albania.
In 1953, Cartier was immortalized in song by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and in 1956 the house of Cartier provided the engagement ring set for Princess Grace. Truly the haute of haute, Cartier will forever be the nth degree in style.
There is only one jewelry house that every Hollywood starlet demands: Harry Winston. Ever since it was founded in 1932, the house of Harry Winston has set the standard for fine jewelry, both off and on the red carpet.
In 1944, Harry Winston became the first jeweler in history to lend diamonds to an actress, dressing Jennifer Jones for the Academy Awards. When Jones brought home the Best Actress award, Harry Winston was solidified as the jeweler to the stars. By 1952, Harry Winston was reported by Life Magazine to have the second-largest collection of historic jewels, coming in just behind the British royal family.
Original pieces created by the house of Harry Winston are noted for their extraordinary quality, being as durable as they are elegant, as timeless as they are extravagant. Mr. Harry Winston was famous for purchasing important, uncut diamonds and creating unmatched pieces of wearable art. For example, in 1966, Mr. Winston purchased a 241-carat piece of rough diamond, which he cut into a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond. The remarkable stone was eventually purchased by Richard Burton for his wife, famed jewelry collector, Elizabeth Taylor. Thus the Taylor-Burton Diamond was born.
More recently, the house of Harry Winston has acquired the 101.73-carat Winston Legacy diamond. Described by Christie’s of New York as “the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction,” the flawless, colorless pear-shaped stunner has been added to one of the world’s most notable jewelry collections.
Want to start your own jewelry collection? Visit our comfortable showroom, or start shopping now!