Victoria Wirth Reynolds photographed by Sebastian Kim.
Tiffany & Co. is reveling in the dynamism of Mother Nature with its 2021 Blue Book Collection, Colors of Nature. Separated into four overarching themes—Land, Sea, Sky, and Earth—the intricately made pieces interpret Earth’s kaleidoscopic hues through precious gemstones arranged in exciting combinations. As the brand’s chief gemologist, Victoria Wirth Reynolds is always in search of rare jewels that have an alluring inner beauty and exceptionally magical qualities. Throughout the years, Wirth Reynolds and her team have traveled extensively around the world to hand-pick the miraculous stones featured in the collection, ensuring that each selection meets Tiffany & Co.’s prestigious standards. While bold in appearance, the collection is refreshingly versatile, with some creations—including a brooch in 18K yellow gold with purple sapphires and diamonds—transforming into different configurations for added versatility. We spoke with Wirth Reynolds to get further insight into the collection.
As chief gemologist, can you walk us through the process of designing a Tiffany & Co. High Jewellery collection?
“We are always looking to find the rarest and most spectacular gemstones that nature has to offer, and our standards for which stones are acceptable and are Tiffany quality are exceptionally high. The most important—and most challenging—criteria is finding a gemstone that is truly exemplary, something that takes your breath away. It’s often more about a feeling you get, which can be very personal. Each gemstone needs to have something magical, an inner beauty that draws us in. Only then do we know that they are truly of Tiffany caliber.”
What were key inspirations behind the Blue Book Collection, Colors of Nature pieces?
“Tiffany & Co.’s 2021 Blue Book Collection, Colors of Nature is a celebration of nature’s chromatic variety, defined by revolutionary innovations, transformable designs, and unexpected color combinations. The key inspiration for this collection was finding the perfect colour palette by marrying the colours we experience all around us with the extraordinary stones that we were able to acquire. There are verdant greens that echo the lush landscapes of grasslands, electric blues that conjure images of azure seas, oranges, and reds that are so vibrant it’s as if you’re glimpsing deep within our planet’s core.”
This collection explores the themes of land, sea, earth, and sky. How was the design process different for each of these elements?
“I wouldn’t say the design process was different, it was more about finding innovative ways to use coloured gemstones to tell each theme’s unique story. We were inspired by the beauty of the world, the colours from places that are familiar to us, and other places that we imagined. Designing Colors of Nature was really an homage to those colours, about pairing gems that echo the vibrant colours of the sea and sky and having our incredible jewellers bring these designs to life.”
When creating a collection of this caliber, does the design come first?
“Sourcing these gemstones for our collections is a quest to find the rarest, most beautiful, and unusual gemstones in the world, and we travel extensively in search of these miracles of nature that inspire us and our designs. Every single one is hand-selected. Sometimes we find the gemstones, and other times they magically find us. It can take years to find the perfect stone for a specific design, and other times, the stone reveals itself and we know right away that we have to have it.”
The collection features quite a few pieces with colourful gems. Can you tell us more about their special qualities?
“The entire collection showcases unique gemstone combinations. We’ve juxtaposed cushion, emerald, and oval cuts on the multiple gemstone necklace; there are trapezoid diamonds that transition into graduated custom-cut sapphires on the green tourmaline necklace. These cuts are often used but rarely in the arrangement that you see in Colors of Nature. And we cannot leave out Tiffany’s unique ‘cracked ice’ cut on the butterfly and turtle brooches, which is arguably the most unique cut of all given each diamond is custom cut to the setting, forming a distinctive diamond mosaic effect.
“On the necklace with alternating yellow beryls and aquamarines, there are gold frames set with rock crystal between each stone, and we’ve expertly set diamonds into the rock crystal such that it looks as if the diamonds are floating within the frames. The effect is nothing short of mesmerizing. The spinels on the ‘tailfeathers’ necklace are so spectacular; they have these painterly colours in an array of blues, pinks, and purples that are absolutely stunning. We knew that we had to include them in the collection.
“There’s a black opal ring that lives up to its otherworldly reputation, with brush stroke-like patches of brilliant ‘play-of-color’ in a kaleidoscopic of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. There are emeralds and sapphires, amethysts and rubellites—all of these gemstones have exceptional colouration, which is precisely what we were inspired by in bringing the collection to life.”
The attention to detail spans to the vessels that these pieces come in, for example, the honeycomb vessel. How is the design process for each vessel different from the design process for the jewellery?
“We wanted the vessels to honour Tiffany’s legacy of craftsmanship and our Tiffany hollowware workshop. With the exception of the hand-carved rock crystal vessel, these works of art were realized at the hands of master Tiffany artisans at the Rhode Island workshop. While the motif expressed in each vessel nods to the designs’ naturalistic themes—the honeycomb vessel holds a stunning orange sapphire and the brilliant ruby that inspired the pomegranate vessel, for example—they are, at their core, an homage to craftsmanship and innovative design that is truly an ‘only Tiffany’ moment.”
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection or a piece that means the most to you?
“One of my favourite pieces in the collection is the show-stopping multiple gemstone necklace that features seven varieties of gemstones—aquamarines, tanzanites; pink, orange, and green tourmalines; a rubellite, and a morganite—totalling over 278 carats. The vibrant hues of these rare gemstones echo the rainbow of colours that we see in nature, which is, of course, what Colors of Nature is all about.”
View the gallery for a look at the collection and a behind-the-scenes of the design process.