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Posted February 10, 2009
Tiffany & Company began in the 1840s with the dual aims of providing "Americans consumer with a taste for the style of Old World aristocracy" and offering a wide selection of jewelry to the country's growing middle class with a "democratization of luxury goods." For Tiffany, the two aims were not incompatible. While the middle-class jewelry was made of less costly materials, it had the same aesthetic appeal as the expensive jewelry. Tiffany jewelry not only bespoke good taste, it set the standard. It was during the Gilded Age in the 1880s and 1890s when Tiffany began concentrating on the expensive, highest-quality jewelry. Its reputation as a maker and seller of such jewelry confirmed by exhibitions and awards at international expositions, Tiffany became the jeweler for the wealthiest class of Americans in the Gilded Age as well as aristocrats, royalty, and newly-rich businessmen in Europe. Today, top-level fashion models, athletes, movie stars, and celebrities in all fields acquire Tiffany pieces.<BR/><BR/>Six chapters--two by the editors--track the growth of Tiffany & Company from its beginnings through the art nouveau period of the 1920s. The last chapter covers from the 1920s to the Super Bowl rings of recent years. Since Tiffany's always made distinctive, high-quality jewelry and was successful from its early years, the history of the company is largely a history of how it coincided with and took advantage of social and economic developments in nineteenth-century America; and once gaining its esteemed status, how it stayed at the top of its field by continuing to reflect changing designs and tastes and to cater to America's wealthiest and most socially conspicuous classes. The consummate craftsmanship and the compelling visual appeal of Tiffany pieces throughout this history are taken for granted.<BR/><BR/>The six chapters highlighting Tiffany's rise and changes are filled with sharp color photographs of the company's jewelry and jeweled objects from the different periods. The work can serve as an introduction to the history of Tiffany's and a catalog of the company's jewelry through its history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.