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A Brief History of Tiffany & Co.

Also known colloquially as Tiffany’s,  luxury jewelry and specialty retailer Tiffany & Co. was founded by John B. Young and Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837. Back then, the company went by the name of Tiffany, Young and Ellis and billed itself as a “stationery and fancy goods emporium” where its products indeed were various stationary items. It wasn’t until 1853 that the company changed its name to the now famous Tiffany & Company and began focusing heavily on jewelry. The store quickly made a name for itself in the 1830s by being one of the few to show a price on its goods, removing the then-common practice of haggling. It also set itself apart by accepting payment solely in the form of cash.

To this day, Tiffany’s continues to publish its now famous “Blue Book” catalog, a practice that originally began in 1845. Now synonymous with New York, the company built a store at 15 Union Square West in Manhattan in 1870 where it remained until the early 1900s. Charles Lewis Tiffany passed away in 1902, leaving behind a legacy as the creator of the first retail catalog in the United States and introducing the English standard of sterling silver in the 1850s thanks to his extensive work overseeing the success of Tiffany’s.

In the 2000s, the Tiffany & Company Foundation was launched, providing grants to nonprofit organizations working in the arts or with the environment.

Since the 1940s, Tiffany has maintained its iconic store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York. It is frequently used as a backdrop in films such as the 1961 American romantic comedy film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.