It’s hard to resist describing Tiffany & Co.’s new pop-up in Paris as a jewel box.
The petite and plush boutique at 34 Avenue Montaigne — its circular rooms laid out like a couple of engagement rings, or a drop earring — functions as a mini museum and calling card for the American firm’s fine and high jewelry, as only gold and diamond baubles are displayed and sold here.
The 650-square-foot space opened Saturday for a one-year residency. Previously it was occupied by Dior Joaillerie, which moved into the Dior megastore across the street earlier this year.
Among the most eye-catching features in the space are a trio of came-glass Tiffany lamps; a round “engagement hub” twinkling with high-carat rings clenched in turquoise “Marry Me” boxes, and two blue, minimalist paintings by Richard Prince from 2004 and 2005 with Tiffany ads plastered in the upper right-hand corner, just as they appeared daily in The New York Times for decades until recently.
Visitors alight upon the archives, displayed under pyramids of glass or in cases embedded into walls that flash with digital imagery and historical information. The eye goes to a jewelry set made of densely piled pearls — an unsigned design from back in the day when Tiffany & Co. cofounders Charles Lewis Tiffany and J. B. Young were selling fancy goods on Broadway in New York City — and to a spectacularly detailed gold charm depicting the Arc de Triomphe.
Exceptional pieces by George Paulding Farnham, Tiffany’s chief jewelry designer from 1885 to 1908, are also on display, including an enamel orchid brooch and a baroque perfume bottle in gold, rock crystal and precious gemstones. Card cases and cigarette boxes mingle with elaborate jewels, recalling La Belle Époque in France, while midcentury designs by Jean Schlumberger, including the famous Bird on a Rock brooch, point to Tiffany’s modernity.
Cue the second room, showcasing a host of collections launched since luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton took control of Tiffany in December 2020. These include the Tiffany City HardWear and Tiffany Knot collections, which are displayed along with the T1 and Victoria ranges, plus designs by the late Elsa Peretti and select high jewelry pieces.
Retail prices posted for the items on display range from about 1,950 euros to 290,000 euros, and go higher for emerald rings and exceptional necklaces in white and yellow diamonds. Window displays are given over entirely to high jewelry items, emblematic of LVMH’s strategy to refocus and grow Tiffany’s many jewelry pillars.
The pop-up culminates with a compact VIP salon complete with a small banquette, consultation desk and the historical pièce de résistance: an original catalogue from the 1887 auction of the French Crown Jewels, a significant portion of which were purchased by Charles Lewis Tiffany.
Indeed, the entire pop-up represents “a modern embodiment” of the nearly 200-year-old relationship between Tiffany and Paris, according to Anthony Ledru, the American jeweler’s chief executive officer. “It represents an innovative approach to Parisian shopping and a forward-thinking vision of experiential retail,” he said.
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture, whose partners include Rem Koolhaas, designed the temporary Tiffany unit, which brings to seven the number of retail showcases in the French capital.
In addition to its flagships on Rue de la Paix and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Tiffany boasts shops-in-shop in Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Samaritaine and Le Bon Marché. The latter opened last November with a new decor the company described as “refined, warm and feminine.”
Tiffany’s ties to Paris stretch back to 1841 when Young came to the French capital on a buying trip. He and the cofounder would go on to open a buying office on the Rue de Richelieu in 1850, and display Tiffany creations at universal exhibitions.
Professor and author Alba Cappellieri is to curate a rotating selection of historic jewels and objects throughout the retail residency, Tiffany noted.