Tiffany does it again with its latest Blue Book collection
He had me at hello.
“Would you like a drink?” asks a man impeccably clothed in a silk suit and polished leather shoes.
Peeking from underneath his shirt cuff is an elegant Swiss-made watch.
As much as I’d like to sip mimosas with a well-dressed man, it’s against company policy to accept alcoholic beverages during assignments, but enough about work guidelines.
Water poured in a crystal glass and served on a silver tray will do.
“Look around,” he says with a wink. “There are some beautiful pieces here.”
We’re at South Coast Plaza’s storied American retailer Tiffany and Co., where glamour and style prevail in the luxury jeweler’s 2016 Blue Book collection.
First published in 1845 as a “Catalogue of Useful and Fancy Articles,” the annual Blue Book catalog features Tiffany’s and the world’s most spectacular, rarest jewels.
Jewelry connoisseurs flock to Tiffany to be the first to see and buy one of the exquisite couture masterpieces, and guests and celebrities from around the world, like actresses Reese Witherspoon and Naomi Watts, are invited to the yearly celebratory gala in Manhattan.
The annual showcase, which was unveiled at the New York headquarters in mid-April, travels to a select few company locations around the country. The second stop for the treasures this past weekend was Costa Mesa.
To highlight the brand’s 179-year legacy of high jewelry, Tiffany and Co. design director Francesca Amfitheatrof turned to nature, a reflection of her lifelong obsession with water and a source of constant inspiration for her second Blue Book showcase.
“The Art of Transformation,” as the collection is called, displays 200 examples of intricate, celestial and underwater motifs as recognizable as the jewelry house’s robin’s egg blue box.
Diamonds surrounding a 22.11-carat yellow sapphire pendant swirl around like clouds.
A bracelet combining round, pear-shaped, emerald-cut, oval, marquise, square-cut and trilliant green tourmalines, aquamarines and blue sapphires represent the movement of rivers rushing to the sea.
Earrings in 18-carat yellow gold with tsavorites, diamonds and moonstones articulate lily pads. A matching pendant is set with an emerald-cut spessartite.
A starburst brooch in platinum seduces with its passionate pink tourmalines and diamonds.
And lavish cocktail rings, ranging from a 6.70-carat emerald to a 20.42-carat sapphire to 28.08-carat pink spinel articulate blazing hues intensified by cuts and settings.
Prices are shared upon request, but a dome ring of tanzanite, diamonds and sapphires may run up to $75,000, and a cuff of marquise and round diamonds will cost $575,000.
“The creatures washed ashore by the tides are a rich source of inspiration for jewelry design,” Amfitheatrof said in a statement. “We tried to capture these fascinating forms in a different way to produce something unusual and unexpected — just as nature never fails to astonish us with constantly shifting colors and patterns.”
Amfitheatrof, leader of Tiffany’s legacy in timeless and innovative creations, joined the brand in 2013, after 20 years of experience in jewelry design, fragrance, furniture and interiors for fashion houses like Chanel, Fendi and Marni.
With the debut of her first Blue Book, “The Art of the Sea,” Amfitheatrof conceptualized designs and gems mimicking water’s energetic and fluid movement.
The collection featured opulent necklaces spotlighting various sizes of baguette and round diamonds evoking the ever-widening circles of water.
A chrysocolla cabochon ring surrounded by sapphires highlighted the hues of the ocean’s shifting tides, and black opal and diamond drop earrings symbolized the currents of the sea.
The design director’s inaugural Blue Book vision stole the show at the 2015 Academy Awards, with Oscar-winning actress and red carpet staple Cate Blanchett adorned in a statement necklace of aquamarines, turquoise and diamonds of varying sizes to reflect sunlight refracted through water.
The platinum accessory that television viewers wanted to imitate for less prompted tabloid US Weekly to offer a reader contest offering a $75 faux turquoise collar.
Masterpieces from this year’s Blue Book reigned supreme again when Blanchett wore drop earrings, a starfish cuff encrusted with round diamonds and a platinum diamond ring to the 88th Academy Awards.
The one-of-a-kind creations, handcrafted by artisans in the workshop above the Fifth Avenue flagship store, will never again be replicated.
How’s that for magic?
For more information, visit tiffany.com.