As Tiffany and Co.’s ‘Vision & Virtuosity’ exhibition continues to shine bright in Fosun Foundation Shanghai, it offers lustrous insight into the rich archival history of the jewelry maison. Focusing on six chapters, from its launch in New York City in 1837 till today, the show is bedecked with iconic pieces, some of which are being showcased for the first time.
With ‘Blue is the Color of Dreams’ charting the brand’s discovery of colored gemstones such as Montana sapphires and tanzanites that first debuted in 1968; to ‘The World of Tiffany’, which shines the spotlight on the maison’s longstanding relationship with arts and culture, each chapter reveals milestones gathered by the maison over the years. And then, there’s ‘The Tiffany Blue Book’, which reveals the intricate artistry and techniques involved in creating each high-jewelry piece.
As the exhibition continues to unravel Tiffany and Co.’s expertise in discovering exquisite gemstones, we speak with Melvyn Kirtley, Chief Gemologist and Vice President of global category marketing for Tiffany & Co., about how we can satiate our love of gems.
Villa 88: Can you share tips for buying gems?
Melvyn Kirtley: I search for gemstones with a completely open mind and a blank palette. I like to be sidetracked by the unique and unexpected finds; it’s an incredibly rigorous and exhilarating process. I often say I’m auditioning each of the gemstones for not only the exceptional quality of their species or variety, but those with a personality and beauty that speaks to you. You want to fall in love with a gemstone and look at it a million times… these are the gemstones that take center stage in our high jewelry pieces.
Search for gemstones with a completely open mind and a blank palette.
What are the key pieces being showcased at the Vision & Virtuosity exhibition?
The Tiffany Diamond is my favorite piece in the exhibition. It is the quintessential Tiffany archival piece and the most glorious yellow diamond in the world—beautifully cut with radiance, fire and scintillation. The exhibition showcases our history through colored gemstones that have played a major role in establishing Tiffany as a world-renowned jeweler.
The Tiffany Diamond is my favorite piece in the exhibition.
In 1967 a unique variety of the mineral zoisite was discovered at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. Tiffany named the stone tanzanite, after its country of origin and the only known source of the stone. We have one of the first pieces of tanzanite jewelry from the Tiffany Archives, as well as its use in today’s Blue Book high jewelry collection, where we juxtapose tanzanites, diamonds and sapphires and set them in platinum to reimagine nature’s blooms.
Vision and Virtuosity runs until 1 November at Fosun Foundation Shanghai, China. Follow @TiffanyAndCo