Objects of Desire: Tiffany & Co. diamonds

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From the October 20, 2011 edition

Baz Luhrmann, the director of the upcoming film adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of opulent consequences, “The Great Gatsby,” recently announced that Tiffany & Co. would be icing the movie’s actresses.

No better jeweler, Luhrmann said, than Tiffany’s. Indeed, Tiffany & Co. has a long and affluent history and is not a stranger to Hollywood. Take Marilyn Monroe heralding them as a girl’s best friend in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

Its brand is one that’s been perfected since 1837, and if ever you receive a jewel in an iconic “little blue box” (nearly nothing leaves the store without one) you’ll be forgiven for peeing your pants a little.

This mystique makes Tiffany’s intimidating. So imagine my surprise when, within minutes of walking into the store at Easton and introducing myself to a “sales professional,” I’m in a private room trying on a $94,000 Tiffany Classic diamond ring. Meanwhile, I was wearing neon orange nail polish and trying to hide the mustard stain on my hand.

That ring was worth about six times the Civic I drove to Easton, but Tiffany’s has a wide range of prices.

“We’re converting people on a daily basis and say, ‘You know what, we’re not totally unaffordable,’” said Kevin Kozlowski, director of Easton’s Tiffany & Co. “We’re a luxury, yes. But it’s an affordable luxury. If you compare us to our peers in terms of quality — Cartier, Harry Winston — we’re a bargain.”

Engagement rings start at $1,300. There are flawless pearl earrings for $250. Engraved Tiffany & Co. champagne flutes, a perfect wedding gift, are $40.

On the other end, the pricier diamonds are worth their weight … or lack of it.

“Our cutters are willing to sacrifice stone for brilliance, which is very, very unusual,” said Easton sales professional Patrick Bryan. “Our cutters try to achieve the ideal angles so the most light will come back, and often that involves sacrificing stone. Since there’s money in the weight of the diamond, that’s an unusual practice. Our diamonds are brighter than you can see anywhere else because of that. That’s why we are Tiffany’s.”

And that, Ms. Monroe, is worth singing about.

∙ Objects of Desire is a bi-weekly column that explores the items Columbus shoppers crave. Follow Jackie Mantey on Twitter at @Jackie_Mantey.