A New Exhibition in London Chronicles Tiffany & Co.’s Sparkle over the Centuries

The iconic blue box is still everything.

on the left is a black and white photo of audrey hepburn as holly golightly from breakfast at tiffany's with a tiara and a spectacular necklace and on the right is a 5 pointed flower brooch in diamonds and blue sapphires that was owned by actress elizabeth taylor
Left: Audrey Hepburn®—Trademark and likeness property of Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti—All Rights Reserved. Right: courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

Left: Audrey Hepburn wearing the Tiffany Diamond in Jean Schlumberger’s Ribbon Rosette necklace for publicity photographs promoting Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. Right: Elizabeth Taylor was often seen in this Jean Schlumberger Fleur de Mer brooch, given to her by Richard Burton in 1965.

book cover of tiffany and co  virtue and virtuosity shows a diamond encrusted bird standing atop a bright blue oval faceted stone
Tiffany & Co.: Vision and Virtuosity, with text by Vivienne Becker and a foreword by the late André Leon Talley, published by Assouline in June 2022.
Courtesty Assouline

For almost 200 years Tiffany & Co. has been a name synonymous with New York City, from its 1905 landmark building on Fifth Avenue to memorable appearances on homegrown celebrities like Lady Gaga and Jay-Z. But many may not know that the brand set down roots in London well over a century ago, opening its first retail boutique there, on Regent Street, in 1892.

A new Tiffany & Co. exhibition, “Vision & Virtuosity,” debuted at London’s Saatchi Gallery earlier this month. It’s an immersive experience divided into seven “chapters” spanning almost 70,000 square feet and chronicling everything from Charles Lewis Tiffany’s relatively humble beginnings (he started the company as a fresh-faced 25-year-old) to a survey of the firm’s most illustrious designers (Jean Schlumberger, Paloma Picasso, Elsa Peretti) and even to re-creations of the boutiques’ otherworldly window displays.

More than 400 objects from the archives, including the annual Blue Book high jewelry collections and the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s screenplay—and, naturally, a deluge of diamonds—provide plenty of eye candy.

platinum and diamond bracelet
Platinum and diamond bracelet worn by Anne Hathaway at the 2011 Academy Awards.
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co./Thomas Milewski

A spacious chapter is dedicated to carats, from vintage pieces worn by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor to the brand’s lauded Empire Diamond, unveiled just last year, as well as the pièce de résistance: the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, which visitors can “try on” via AR in a state-of-the-art app created to accompany the exhibit.

curved y shaped vase in greenish and white checkboard patter
Gemini vase by Mellow Ceramics, $500, available exclusively at the London exhibition.
TIffany & Co. Studio

If after processing all of that, the one thing you really want is to walk off with something in a Tiffany Blue bag, you’re in luck. The final stop on the “Vision & Virtuosity” journey is a boutique with an enticing mix of products, including two limited editions by New York artists: T-shirts and hoodies designed by Daniel Arsham and a Gemini vase by Elise Grace Wilken of Mellow ceramics in that iconic robin’s-egg blue hue, proof that the spirit of this very global powerhouse remains rooted in the Empire State.

“Vision & Virtuosity: An Exhibition from the House of Tiffany & Co.” is on view through August 19 at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Admission is free; tickets can be reserved via the Tiffany & Co. exhibition app through the iOS and Google Play app stores.

summer 2022 cover  elle decor

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE

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