IWalked New York City’s Tiffany & Co.
Located at 727 Fifth Avenue is a store from which every young girl dreams of receiving one of its iconic baby blue boxes wrapped in a white bow—Tiffany & Co. Tiffany’s originated in 1837 when Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young opened a fancy goods and stationary store in Lower Manhattan known as Tiffany, Young and Ellis. The store was rebranded as just Tiffany & Co. when Charles Tiffany took over in 1853. It was also during this period that the store’s primary focus shifted to jewelry. Its flagship New York City store has been located at this site since 1940.
Although the name Tiffany & Co. had already held prestige for its high quality jewelry throughout the mid-1800s, its image was further enhanced when it acquired the French Crown Jewels in 1887. Suddenly they were dubbed by the New York press as the “King of Diamonds.” And its iconic six-pronged diamond engagement rings have since become the admiration and desire of every young bridge.
Hollywood has further immortalized the store, most respectfully through the 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote’s book, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the movie, a young Audrey Hepburn (who was actually the author’s second choice for the main role behind Marilyn Monroe) would frequent outside the store’s windows and admire the display cases. It is said that over forty security guards were hired during filming to protect the store’s valuable inventory. Further films that have glamorized the engagement ring shopping experience have included the 1993 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film, Sleepless in Seattle, and the 2002 Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy, Sweet Home Alabama.
While the name Tiffany will always be synonymous with engagement rings, the company has also designed a multitude of other intriguing items. For instance, they designed swords used by the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1877, a medal of honor was created for the first New York City police officer shot in the line of duty. The image portrayed on this medal, containing the letters N and Y, was later embraced by baseball’s New York Yankees who made it their team logo in 1909. Tiffany has also played a part in designs of the Great Seal of the United States, the Super Bowl trophy, the World Series trophy, and the White House China.
For any male readers who have felt completely baffled by this topic of engagement rings, please note that Tiffany’s does offer workshops to help educate and assist on, “How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring.”
Lastly, fans of the television series Mad Men may be slightly disappointed to note that the fictional department store Menken’s does not actually neighbor Tiffany’s as depicted in the show.
Address:727 Fifth Avenue,New York City,NY
Hours: Mon-Sat10am-7pm; Sun12pm-6pm (closed Easter Sunday)
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: New York City’s Upper Midtown. (Purchase the MP3 tour here. iPhone application tour is available here. Please note, all NYC tours are now available as in-app purchases upon download of our FREE NYC Lite application, which includes a free 1.5 hour tour of a portion of the Upper West Side.)