Bejewelled by Tiffany, 1837-1987 - Somerset House
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
Bejewelled by Tiffany, 1837-1987, the most comprehensive exhibition of Tiffany jewellery ever mounted, can be seen at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until November 26, 2006.
Some 180 glittering pieces from the Tiffany archive, together with a small selection of jewels loaned from private collections, chronicle Tiffany’s first 150 years. Many have never before been on public display.
Now famous for its glamour, creative design and fine craftsmanship, Tiffany & Co. was founded in New York in 1837. Starting modestly as a ‘Fancy Goods’ store on Broadway, it quickly rose to international fame, its jewellery winning medals and stunning the world at the great international exhibitions of the 19th century.
Success was born from a commitment to excellence in design, craftmanship and the materials used and was rooted in the entrepreneurial genius of the company’s founder Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902).
The exhibition follows a broad chronological framework within which the pieces are arranged thematically, highlighting particular designers, sources of inspiration or the materials favoured at different times during the 150 years covered.
These include, for example, the section entitled Nature in which, as the name suggests, designs were inspired by the natural world. Included is a dazzling dragonfly (pictured) where the diamonds and sapphires evoke the evanescence of the insect.
Bejewelled by Tiffany, 1837-1987 celebrates Tiffany’s sustained pursuit of superb design and outstanding craftmanship. Through the display of glittering jewels and luxurious objects, it evokes the glamour that has beguiled Tiffany’s clients for 150 years.