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Fashion Icons: Tiffany & Co.

01 Jul

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Courtesy Tiffany & Co. Tiffany & Company founder Charles Lewis  Tiffany is seen here in his Union Square store at the age of eighty-seven, with  Charles T. Cook, who assumed the reins of leadership after Tiffany died in  1902.

Long before Marilyn Monroe sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” or Audrey  Hepburn stared longingly into the window from a deserted Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. was influencing American culture. In September 1837, Charles Lewis  Tiffany borrowed $1,000 from his father, and with his school friend John B.  Young, opened a stationary and fancy goods store in New York City. Its first  day’s sales were $4.98. In the 1840s, Tiffany & Co. began buying  diamonds and a decade later the company became one of the word’s leading  silversmiths. It supplied the Union Army in the Civil War and in the late 19th  century decorated a series of Colt, Winchester and Smith & Wesson handguns.  Tiffany & Co. was already a famous institution when Tiffany began selling  items in the “Tiffany blue” box. “Tiffany has one thing in stock that you cannot  buy of him for as much money as you may offer,” the New York Sun wrote in 1906.  “He will only give it to you. And that is one of his boxes.” A visit to the  flagship store on Fifth Avenue, established in 1940, has become a rite of  passage for young women visiting New York City and grooms-to-be of all ages  delivering their proposal and a ring via one of those famous blue boxes. It’s no  guarantee of a yes, but it’s not a bad way to start.

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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Fashion Icons

 

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