Review: Vision & Virtuosity

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By: Tiffany & Co

Duration: 10 June – 19 August 2022

Location: Saatchi Gallery , London

Vision & Virtuosity is an exhibition that captures the 185-year history and heritage of Tiffany & Co. Spread over two floors at the Saatchi Gallery and categorised into seven thematic chapters. It features over 400 items, from magical window displays to exquisite jewellery and archival materials. An immersive experience of innovation and craftsmanship that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the London flagship.

© A. Papaonisiforou, Saatchi Gallery

Upon entering the gallery, chapter one brings visitors face to face with the brand’s creativity. Recreations of the most iconic window displays spread across one side of the room and a projection of the New York Skyline at night on the other. Dimmed lights and sparkling reflections make the room seem like something out of a fairytale. Each display is carefully curated in what seems like a large gift box with a glass window.

So carefully thought out and imaginative, with a theatrical sense of story-telling. For example, the Blue Moon (2022) display of  Bird on a Rock Brooch by Jean Schlumberger. A gold and platinum bird, set with diamonds on the body and pink-sapphire eyes perched on a 59-carat bold blue gemstone; displayed at the top of the Palace of Westminster alongside the clock of Big Ben, overlooking the river bridge with a twinkling moonlight reflection that comes to life on the water surface.

© A. Papaonisiforou, Saatchi Gallery

Chapter two dives into various jewellery designs and objects, like sports trophies and a cocktail set. It also includes one of the first-ever blue boxes from 1886 next to displays of archival material like magazine covers and design sheets pinned on boards. Chapter three is about the tradition of the direct-mail annual catalogue, otherwise known as the blue book. It initially presented decorative objects, some of which are on show in this room, and how it evolved into the prestigious jewellery collection known today. A walk through the history of Tiffany leads to chapter four and the engagement rings display. A light blue room with a floral installation hanging from the ceiling and an interactive wall for visitors to write love messages that float around. This fairytale-themed room captures the magic of the legendary Tiffany Setting engagement rings and the cultural influence this modern design had on the world. The diamonds are lifted off the band to maximise the reflecting lights. This section ends with a room that resembles a store appointment room where visitors have the opportunity to try on rings and enjoy the Tiffany experience.

© A. Papaonisiforou, Saatchi Gallery

The sixties classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s is brought to light in chapter five of the exhibition. Archival items from the making of the movie are on display, including the original script annotated by Audrey Hepburn and the black satin Givenchy dress. The film played a significant role for Tiffany in a pop culture setting and adds a cinematic element to the show.

© A. Papaonisiforou, Saatchi Gallery

Chapter six brings an impressive collection of archival diamond designs, including the 80-carat Empire Diamond on the reimagined World’s Fair Necklace. The exhibition ends with chapter seven and the largest yellow diamond in the world. The 100-carat Tiffany Diamond necklace shown in the centre of an empty room in a dramatic and glamorous setting. In this room, visitors also have the opportunity to experience ‘wearing’ the necklace in an augmented reality feature that is accessible via Tiffany & Co app. In partnership with Snapchat, the Snap AR experience elevates this exhibition. Also, Snapchat users can catch a glimpse of the show with a selection of Lenses in the app, including one that features Bird on a Rock flying around you.

© A. Papaonisiforou, Saatchi Gallery

The exhibition is free to visit, although tickets are only available to book via the Tiffany & Co app. It will be travelling to New York later in the year, and a smaller scale of it was on display in Shanghai in 2019. Also worth noting that two pieces on display are available for sale.

Our Take

It is one of the most mesmerising exhibitions to come to London. An educational journey of jewellery design, history and pop culture in a dreamy setting. The display of relics, modern designs and augmented reality all in one truly showcases the best of Tiffany & Co.

…And it makes a hell of a marketing campaign.

I want to learn more:

Vision & Virtuosity by Tiffany & Co.

The New Tiffany & Co. Exhibition

Snap AR adds a new facet to Tiffany & Co.’s Iconic Jewelry

About the author:

Anastasia Papaonisiforou is a London based exhibitions expert with an MA in Curating and Collections and a background in Fine Arts. She is our oldest patron and graciously accepted to cover this topic for Local Approach; she is available to give advice on discord through our “Let’s talk about your heritage!” membership, upon specific request.

[Edited A. Gkouma]

More from Anastasia:

Curating: a viewer’s perspective

Curating: NFTs

Your Curated Reading List series

Exhibition Reviews series

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