Holly Golightly exits a New York City taxi cab at dawn in front of the Tiffany & Co. store on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. She’s wearing a black evening gown, opera gloves, and a multistrand pearl and rhinestone necklace. The camera pans up the facade of the building, with its Atlas clock and revolving doors, then returns to Golightly, who is gazing at the window display as she sips coffee and munches on a Danish. With the iconic opening of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the jeweller entered the realm of pop-culture mythology. In the publicity photos for the film, actress Audrey Hepburn traded her costume jewellery for a necklace set with the spectacular 128.54-carat yellow Tiffany Diamond. Now the two things most emblematic of Tiffany—the Fifth Avenue store and the Tiffany Diamond—are getting dramatic makeovers as a new design for the famous stone takes center stage at Tiffany’s freshly renovated Fifth Avenue flagship, which has been christened the Landmark.
Cut into a cushion-shape brilliant with an unprecedented 82 facets to maximise its fire and brilliance, the Tiffany Diamond was discovered in South Africa’s Kimberley mines in 1877 and famously exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Its latest incarnation is the fifth time it has been set in a jewellery piece. Philanthropist Mary Whitehouse wore it as a pendant on a diamond chain for the 1957 Tiffany Feather Ball in Newport, Rhode Island, then Hepburn followed, wearing it in Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger’s sinuous Ribbon Rosette necklace.
In 1995, the Tiffany Diamond was used to create a magnificent Bird on a Rock brooch for the Schlumberger retrospective at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. In 2012, for Tiffany’s 175th anniversary, the Tiffany Diamond was mounted in a 100-carat diamond necklace, which was later worn by Lady Gaga to the Academy Awards in 2019 and by Beyoncé in a 2021 ad campaign. The 2023 setting, designed by the brand’s new chief artistic officer of jewellery and high jewellery, Nathalie Verdeille, is a convertible brooch, which can be worn as a pendant, encircled by five diamond-encrusted bird motifs. It is like a palimpsest of its previous incarnations.
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Architect Peter Marino spent three years reimagining the Landmark’s interior configuration while preserving its limestone facade, which was designed by Cross & Cross in 1940. (There is a glass-wrapped three-story addition by OMA New York that brings the total floor space to more than 100,000 square feet.) At the heart of the store is a sweeping curvilinear staircase crafted in cerused oak, with transparent balustrades and angled infinity mirrors inspired by Tiffany designer Elsa Peretti’s organic forms.
Forty major artworks, including Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Tiffany Blue 1982 painting Equals Pi, are embedded throughout the store, which now features a dedicated museum space and a private shopping penthouse. The Tiffany Diamond will take pride of place in a central display on the ground floor, where its brilliance will be enhanced by a diamond-shaped skylight, offering all the mood-lifting properties Golightly sought when she stepped out of that cab.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.