A special look into the creation of Tiffany & Co.’s incredible Botanica: Blue Book 2022 collection

When the storied New York-based jewellery house, Tiffany & Co. releases its annual Blue Book, admirers and, most importantly, collectors of fine jewels the world over take note. Having first launched its now widely-lauded tome in 1845 with a focus on engagement rings, Tiffany made history as the first direct-mail catalogue to bring its fine pieces into the homes of Americans.

Over the years, the release of each new Blue Book has been met with great anticipation by a growing number of celebrities and collectors of rare and exquisite jewellery alike, evolving to become an incredible document on a vast array of the house’s creative wonders. Among them coveted pieces by legendary Tiffany & Co. Designer Jean Schlumberger, whose fanciful creations won over the likes of Babe Paley, Jayne Wrightsman and Audrey Hepburn back in the day. The annual release has seen Tiffany become globally-renowned for the way in which it successfully bridges the gap between its heritage and more modern appetites, successfully moving with the times, while still paying homage to its past. 

Victoria Wirth Reynolds Chief Gemologist and Vice President, Tiffany & Co.

In September 2022, Denizen’s Editor-in-chief, Claire Sullivan-Kraus was invited to Tokyo for the unveiling of the third and final expression of Botanica: Blue Book 2022, a collection that brought a new excitement to existing floral themes from The Tiffany Archives. This final iteration drew inspiration from flora such as wisterias, magnolias and orchids, in addition to a number of Jean Schlumberger’s masterpieces.

Embracing the much-admired and collectable Louis Comfort lamp that became an iconic addition to desks and tables throughout the Art Nouveau period and beyond, Tiffany’s artisan’s re-envisioned the petals of a wisteria with hand-carved chalcedony, pear-shaped fancy sapphires and diamonds nestled amongst the petals. 

“Wisteria is a homage to the archival Tiffany & Co. flower that also honours Louis Comfort, Tiffany’s colourful leaded-glass creations,” said Victoria Wirth Reynolds, Chief Gemologist and Vice President of Tiffany & Co. “The hand-carved chalcedony petals have these beautiful, translucent hues with an intentional gradation of colour.” 

Wisteria earrings from Tiffany & Co.

The unveiling of this iteration of the Botanica collection in Tokyo provided many outstanding moments, with each piece more show-stopping and intricately detailed than the next. But perhaps one of the most impressive examples of the maison’s ability to honour tradition and celebrate modernity, was via its interpretation of the orchid. The Orchid Curve necklace beautifully captures the essence of this much-loved flower, but does so in a way that doesn’t necessarily replicate it. Instead the necklace is artfully crafted in a uniquely curved shape with over 38 carats of diamonds set in platinum. In keeping with the new movement towards more versatile, transformable pieces, the undulating necklace even has a removable sapphire, an extraordinary gemstone that can be added for occasions that call for a little va-va-voom.

According to Reynolds, “honouring the botanical splendour and organic curves of an orchid flower, our designers and master craftspeople collaborated to re-envision the flower’s distinctive profile. This theme’s intriguing silhouettes and rhythmic pattern of diamonds modernise the orchid motif while honouring its significance to our heritage, making the two indelibly intertwined.”

 The Orchid Curve necklace is one of the most exceptional designs of the Botanica: Blue Book 2022 collection,” Reynolds explains. “The process of handcrafting it was perhaps the most technically challenging, however, and the result is an incredibly innovative work of art. This necklace is sculptural, with organic curves and clean folds. As a necklace, it needs to have flexibility and movement; it needs to be both beautiful and comfortable. We achieved this by custom-cutting hundreds of diamonds to fit each setting. Each diamond has its own movement, and the artisan must conceal the mechanisms that facilitate the organic motion of the diamonds.”

“The designation of “High Jewellery” is reserved for the best of the best in terms of design, rarity, workmanship, and value.”

The designation of ‘High Jewellery’ is reserved for the best of the best in terms of design, rarity, workmanship and value. The natural origin of diamonds and gemstones is essential for any piece to be considered High Jewellery. Reynolds says, “Sourcing gemstones for our collections is a quest to find the rarest, most beautiful, and unusual gemstones in the world. My team and I travel extensively in search of these miracles of nature, and every single diamond and coloured gemstone is selected by hand. As we searched for the perfect coloured gemstone for the Orchid Curve necklace, we were fortunate to find a rare unenhanced sapphire of substantial size with exceptional colour and clarity. Its beauty cannot be overstated.”

Schlumberger Bird on a Rock from Tiffany & Co.

One of the most popular pieces on display from the famed French visionary, Jean Schlumberger, and inspired by his work in The Tiffany Archives, is the legendary ‘Bird on a Rock’ brooch, set with a vibrant array of gemstones that gave a new dimension to Schlumberger’s masterful creations. While the original ‘Bird on a Rock’ — which highlights Schlumberger’s deep love of nature and movement — was designed in 1956 with the iconic Tiffany Yellow Diamond, the brooch has since been recreated with some of the world’s most incredible coloured gemstones. Every coloured gemstone for each ‘Bird on a Rock’ is hand-selected and hand-set by Tiffany’s artisans. Intriguingly, ‘Bird on a Rock’ has fast become a desirable and collectable lapel brooch for men, as Sullivan-Kraus witnessed at the Botanica: Blue Book Gala held in Tokyo, where many of the male guests were spotted donning their sparkling new acquisitions proudly upon their tuxedo lapels. 

The Empire Diamond necklace, and The Empire Diamond converted into a ring from Tiffany & Co.

But in a room filled with exquisite glimmering stones, and delicate craftsmanship, it was hard to ignore the presence of the incredible ‘Empire Diamond.’ A recent acquisition for Tiffany, the 80-carat oval shape, D colour and internally flawless diamond and its design, make it the second most expensive (after the legendary 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, which is not for sale and has been labelled as “priceless”) ever created in the jewellery house’s history, and said to be in the vicinity of $USD30 million. The show-stopping necklace was a reimagined version of the 1939 World’s Fair Necklace and features the 80-carat Empire Diamond as the centrepiece of its flexible necklace. But the most interesting part is that it can also, rather brilliantly, be converted into a diamond ring, with an 80-carat centre stone, in a platinum setting, again making it uniquely transformable. “This twist to the Tiffany Empire Diamond allows the wearer to adapt it to their personal style and enjoy the diamond in multiple ways. The transformability is a testament to Tiffany’s incredible skills and modern engineering capabilities,” says Reynolds.

The showcase in Tokyo was a true reflection of Tiffany & Co.’s legacy of innovation and creativity, while the pieces within the Botanica: Blue Book 2022 collection marked the arrival of a new era of transformative, high jewellery designs — pointing to jewellery collectors’ growing calls for magnificent pieces that can be worn every day.

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