The 128-Carat Tiffany Diamond Worn by Audrey Hepburn And Lady Gaga Is In Shanghai
Tiffany & Co. is 180 years old. With a long, illustrious heritage, there are many tales to tell. It is these stories that are told in Vision & Virtuosity, a two-month-long immersive exhibition in Shanghai, with priceless jewelry pieces from its collection flown in from its New York headquarters.
Town&Country was at the exhibit opening alongside luminaries of Shanghai society and special guests who flew in especially for this global event put together by Tiffany & Co. New York. Notably present were actors Gong Li of Farewell, My Concubine and Memoirs of a Geisha, Brie Larson, otherwise known as Captain Marvel, and luminescent Kim Tae Ri, star of the critically acclaimed Korean film, The Handmaiden.
Here are six reasons why you may consider flying to Shanghai in the next two months to visit this extraordinary exhibit.
1. The Tiffany diamond. This stunning 128.5-carat yellow diamond was discovered in South Africa in 1877. Originally 287 carats uncut, the rough stone was acquired by Charles Lewis Tiffany a year later, sealing his reputation as the “King of Diamonds.”
It was the highlight of Tiffany’s exhibit at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York. It has only ever been worn by three women since it was created—by socialite Mary Whitehouse, at the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island, by Audrey Hepburn (for publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and recently, by Lady Gaga (for the 2019 Hollywood Oscars.)
2. The dazzling window boxes in Blue is the Color of Dreams. The brand’s flagship store is known for its window displays, and here, we see beautiful blue sapphires, aquamarines, moonstones tanzanite, and blue diamonds nestled in whimsical dreamscapes. A jewel-encrusted bird of gold perched on an egg-shaped gem sits with blue robin eggs in a woven nest of silver. A bedazzled dragonfly sits atop the gates to the Vanderbilt estate. A pair of gorgeous teardrop earrings is served on a porcelain platter as part of a sumptuous miniature banquet with trifles and towers of mini macarons. A bracelet is draped lazily over a reindeer at rest beneath tiny chandeliers.
3. Jackie Kennedy’s Two Fruit Clip pin, a gift from President John F. Kennedy. Jewelry owned by Elizabeth Taylor. The cash book from the day Tiffany & Co, opened. The original blue box before it became the famous robin’s egg blue. An invitation to opening night of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. All these in a section depicting Tiffany’s history. We were especially touched to see a page from Town&Country magazine’s April 1954 issue as part of the display (Tiffany is a few years older than Town&Country, established in 1846).
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s script annotated by Audrey Hepburn, the novel by Truman Capote, behind-the-scenes photos, a street setting with a New York yellow cab, and the façade of the iconic building found at the corner Fifth Avenue and 57thStreet Avenue in Manhattan. The film was released in 1961 but it remains forever etched in cinematic history as one of the most romantic films of all time. I must say this room was the room that made us tear up and want to fall in love all over again.
5. The first Tiffany blue book from 1845. Likely the first-ever mail-order catalog in the United States. And what a book. Tiffany has unlocked its vaults to bring out some of its one-of-a-kind pieces that have played a part in the brand’s history. In the 19th century, Tiffany refashioned royal and imperial gemstones, including some that were part of the French Crown jewels. It is believed the emeralds in one of the necklaces in the exhibit were previously owned by Queen Isabella II of Spain.
6. Those rings. At the Tiffany Love room with a forest of papercut leaves, one can write a digital love note and send it soaring across the room. It also celebrates diamonds set in the renowned Tiffany setting that will make anyone’s heart flutter. We tried some on and oh, the sparkle!
7. A roomful of diamonds. A spectacular display of diamond tiaras, necklaces, and other pretty things in crystal cases evoking waves. We felt just as Tiffany & Co. CEO Alessandro Bogliolo describes how he felt when he first visited the flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
“Oh my God, what is this magical place? I have never seen so many diamonds all together in one place.”
Vision & Virtuosity is open to the public and runs through November 10, 2019 at the Fosun Foundation, Shanghai.