Happy birthday, Tiffany

tiffany_80s-pop.jpg No, no – not the 80s mall-tour singer.

tiffiny_charles-resize.jpg Ah, yes, there we go.  Charles Tiffany.  Founder of the high-society department store that bears his name still today.

February 15 marks the birthday of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the man who gave the world some of its most preeminent symbols of wealth and status. Born in Killingly, Connecticut, in 1812, Tiffany headed to New York in 1837, where he and partner John B. Young opened a stationery and fancy goods shop. However, political upheaval in Europe in 1848 caused the prices of precious stones to plummet, giving Tiffany a perfect, and profitable, opening into the jewelry business. He snapped up a passel of suddenly cheap diamonds, including a few of the French Crown Jewels, which he later sold for a tidy sum, prompting the press to dub Tiffany “The King of Diamonds.” Around the same time, Tiffany set about manufacturing gold jewelry. He moved rapidly to expand his business, acquiring John C. MooreÝs leading silver operations in 1851. Two years later, Tiffany assumed complete control of the company and re-christened it “Tiffany & Co.” During the ensuing years, he opened Tiffany branches around the world and produced special items for luminaries like First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. By the time Tiffany died in 1902, his company and its products were firmly entrenched as enduring vestiges of high culture.

Wow.  So there you have it.  Get into the diamond business by catching a break on depressed gemstone prices during political upheaval.

[tags]Happy birthday, Born today – Charles Tiffany (1812)[/tags]