Jewelry & Watches

A Look At The Making of the Iconic Tiffany Setting Ring

The iconic diamond setting that celebrates 130 years strategically gathers light and bounces it right back to you.
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“The only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s… Nothing very bad could happen to you there,” says Audrey Hepburn as the restless Holly Golightly in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She was talking about what she calls the “mean reds,” moments when you are gripped by troublesome fear and the only tonic would be a visit to the happiest place on Earth, which, for Holly and the rest of womankind, is the Tiffany flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City.

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

With Breakfast, the American jeweler Tiffany & Co was cemented as a cultural icon—a place, an idea, a robin’s egg blue box, or a magnificent piece of jewelry worthy of mythology in movies, TV shows, books, and, in the age of the Internet, even memes. Breakfast was released 85 years after the introduction of the jeweler’s most famous design, a ring that would forever link Tiffany with the social ritual of the engagement.

It was in 1886 when Charles Tiffany debuted the Tiffany Setting. The design was radical at the time. An engagement ring that held the stone in its bezel was in vogue, but Tiffany’s creation lifted the diamond away from the band with six delicate, purposefully designed prongs. “The classical idea of beauty in symmetry defines the design of the Tiffany setting,” says Melvyn Kirtley, chief gemologist of Tiffany & Co. Poised upward, the diamond gathers light and then, as diamonds do, bounces it right back to you. When executed with Tiffany’s unparalleled stones—the jeweler’s standards “reject fully 99.96 percent of the world’s gem-grade diamonds”—and cut in the most brilliant of shapes, a light-maximizing round, the quintessential engagement ring roars to life.

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Polishing a Tiffany engagement ring; a jeweler preps the six-pronged platinum setting before mounting a diamond

A cushion-shaped yellow diamond; a sketch of the Tiffany diamond

Charles Tiffany created the signature setting to celebrate the beauty of the diamond, which, in this state, has the power to make any woman forget her worries and, with hope, say yes to love.

The flagship store in New York

Copies of the Tiffany & Co blue book

Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza.

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Clifford Olanday
Senior Fashion Editor, Esquire Philippines
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