Tiffany was founded on September 18, 1837 with a partner John B. Young. The name of the company at that time was Tiffany & Young. In 1841, partner J.L. Ellis joined the firm with the company name changing once again to Tiffany, Young and Ellis. Tiffany became the sole owner in 1850 and Tiffany & Company, Inc. came into being in 1868.
Charles Tiffany was born on February 15, 1812. His first work experience started when he helped his father successfully operate a country store. It stocked Chinese items, fans, stationery, umbrellas, fans, pottery and desks. Later they carried jewelry and silver.
Tiffany has had a long world-wide reputation of producing interesting, unique and highly desirable diamond and gemstone jewelry and silver pieces. Paulding Farnum, in 1889, was one of his first well-known designers followed by Jean Schlumberger. Both received world-wide acclaim as designers of classic jewelry.
Gideon F. T. Reed of Lincoln Reed & Company, a well-known jewelry firm, became a partner and operated the Tiffany store in Paris under the name of Tiffany, Reed & Company.
Louis Comfort Tiffany joined his father and took over the jewelry workshops in 1902 at his father’s death. At that point, every piece of jewelry sold had the name of the firm and a registration number inscribed into the metal. This detail gave all the particulars about the item, including the date sold, by whom and the full description of the item including the weight, color and clarity if it contained a diamond.
Well over 75% of the jewelry sold on the first floor of Tiffany’s in 1902 and for some years later. Jewelry was made on the seventh floor and sold in the Fifth Ave. location in New York City.
In 1980, Tiffany’s was sold to Avon who later sold it to a consortium of businesses. The company went public in 1987. Tiffany perfume, wool and silk scarves, neckties, handbags, evening purses, wallets and briefcases were added to the company’s inventory that same year.
The company went through troubling times with the recession in 1990-1991, but in 1994 sales rose. The net sales rose to 682.8 million with US sales amounting to 45%, international sales to 41% and direct marketing sales to 14%.
By 1996-2001, Tiffany increased their number of stores. By 2001-2004, Tiffany opened Temple St. Clair, a new retail concept selling trendy jewelry items from $500 to $35,000 and Iridesse, which focused on pearls selling items from $50 to $50,000.