When Tiffany & Co.’s Magnolia vase made its formal debut, at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, it was hailed as “the greatest exhibit in point of artistic beauty and intrinsic value that any individual firm has ever shown.” It was no small feat, considering this substantial piece— designed by John T. Curran and handcrafted from silver, gold, enamel, and opals—is over 30 inches tall and weighs more than 50 pounds. It’s currently ensconced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
While other motifs may be more top of mind when it comes to the legendary 185-year-old brand, the magnolia has been a quiet constant, employed in everything from jewelry designs to leaded-glass windows and lamps. With this year’s high-jewelry offering 2022 Tiffany Blue Book Collection: Botanica, this flower—a symbol of perseverance and longevity—is once again in the spotlight, translated into meticulously crafted bijoux that pay homage to nature and showcase the “rarest, most beautiful and unusual gemstones in the world,” says Victoria Wirth Reynolds, vice president and chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co. “We travel extensively in search of these miracles of nature that inspire us and our designs.”
Among the highlights is a collar-style necklace two years and over 1,300 hours in the making, which features milky opals that complement pink sapphires and rose-cut diamonds handset in platinum—all mimicking the pink and white ombré of a magnolia’s petals. Cradled in the center is a jaw-dropping 43-carat, deep-pink oval morganite stone. Another standout is the sole pair of earrings offered in the Magnolia range, with petal clusters anchoring an architectural drop of diamonds that culminate in an unenhanced pink sapphire. Rings of red spinels and diamonds provide more playful interpretations of petals, two in teardrop shapes designed to gracefully drape over one finger and lightly kiss the next, while the third asymmetrical adornment features a three-carat unenhanced ruby nestled in a bed of diamonds.
“We travel extensively in search of these miracles of nature that inspire us and our designs”
Victoria Wirth Reynolds
Botanica provides other nods to nature, such as the wisteria-themed jewelry incorporating blue chalcedonies, sapphires, tanzanites, and diamonds, and updated classic Jean Schlumberger designs, including the Phoenix brooch, now rendered in 18k yellow gold and platinum with an explosion of blue and green tourmalines, turquoise, multicolored sapphires, and diamonds. Hard to overlook is the iconic Bird on a Rock, with an over 47-carat tsavorite, a stone that’s one of Reynolds’s favorites “because of their gorgeous color, which is an intensely bright, rich green hue, and because they are as durable as they are beautiful.”
Each piece is unique, and unlike their namesakes, they will dazzle for decades with very little maintenance.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Winter Issue under the headline “Floral Arrangement.” Subscribe to the magazine.