There’s something special about opening that little blue box for the first time. And, now, D.C. denizens need look no further than their own backyard to shop for the little lovelies crafted by Tiffany & Co. The jeweler recently debuted a 5,000-square-foot boutique at CityCenterDC (960 New York Ave. NW, tiffany.com), its first in D.C. proper. But it has had a long history with the region; President Abraham Lincoln purchased Mary a sizable string of pearls as a gift on his inauguration. The store is a testament to its future in the District: The evolved retail environment comes complete with the first Tiffany Blue gilded magnolia chandelier in North America. Here, CEO Alessandro Bogliolo shares his sparkling vision.
Above: CEO Alessandro Bogliolo.
It seems that the boutique is an homage to the brand’s history and evolution.
ALESSANDRO BOGLIOLO: It’s different [than the typical store] because of its location and all the natural light. Details have been designed specifically for this store, like the fluted marble columns. It is a step toward modernity but also speaks to D.C.’s rich classical architecture. We hint to the local community; we want to pay tribute to the [cities] where we have [shops].
Do you have a favorite spot here?
AB: The corner oval counter with all the diamonds. There is a [natural] light, and you see the diamonds sparkling in all their beauty. For me, that is magical.
We’ve talked about the transformation of the store. What about the jewels?
AB: We’ve moved from talking about solitaire diamonds as a celebration of engagement to positioning the diamond ring as a symbol of love—regardless of moment, occasion, gender, age. I am very proud of this because it is a sign of something traditional like a piece of jewelry that is adapting to the way people exist now.
From left: Return to Tiffany Love Bugs butterfly flower ring in sterling silver and 18K gold, $1,600; Return to Tiffany Love Bugs butterfly ring in 18K rose gold and sterling silver, $1,400; cushion-cut diamond ring in platinum, $100,000.
You’ve also embraced female empowerment.
AB: The days where jewelry was mainly bought by men, for women, have changed. We are excited to have so many women who are self-purchasers. It’s a matter of providing options for a woman who knows what she wants and who she wants to be.
I’m sure Reed Krakoff has played a part in this. What inspires you the most about him?
AB: His taste. He [has a] natural, elegant, understated taste. He’s a quintessential New Yorker, which is important for a brand like Tiffany. He has contributed so much in his couple of years with us. Look at designs like his first, the Paper Flowers collection: He took the paper flower, with the three petals and the pin, and he transformed it in diamond and platinum with a sense of the preciousness.
It showcases the craft.
AB: Our tradition goes back to the 19th century. The internal expertise Tiffany has is different from brands who buy stones already cut and polished; we go to the mines to get the rough diamonds. We know where [they] come from and if the mines are compliant with our standards. We provide you with traceability of the diamond—this is something we started this year. It’s a step forward in terms of transparency. This, for me, is meaningful because it is jewelry, but it is also beautiful inside.
Speaking of beauty… anywhere in D.C. you want to discover?
AB: The National Museum of African American History & Culture: I have read so much. It must be incredible.