So when was the last time you saw the main floor of Tiffany & Co. looking as pleasantly free of crowds as this?
We saw it this morning when the fine folks at Tiffany invited us and and a few other media over to have breakfast in the store before the doors were opened to the Holiday hordes (Truman Capote really gave them a huge gift when he wrote that novella). It's never a burden to look at shiny, sparkly things, especially when they come with mimosas, little muffins and various other nibbles being walked around. A few choice gift items were set out for our perusal ranging from sterling silver ornaments and piggy banks to a gorgeous Jean Schlumberger pink tourmaline and diamond ring to a spectacular Frank Gehry one-of-a-kind white gold mesh bib necklace, generously scattered with rough diamonds and pearls ($750,000).
This is the kind of breakfast we could get used to.
Even the genial Tiffany execs there admitted that the store took on a serenely different atmosphere without all the daily hustle and bustle, and it was genuinely a pleasure to wander amongst the cases without anyone in our way.
Here's what else we learned:
· The Elsa Peretti collection never gets old, and looks as modern as ever. Some of her classic pieces have now been recast in a sleek, charcoal metal made from ruthenium plated copper (with a new, gentler opening price point).
· Tiffany's relationship with the Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe dates back to the 19th century and is the longest vendor-retailer relationship on record. There is now an exclusive Patek Philippe salon tucked away on the mezzanine level including vintage museum pieces and an on-site repair studio.
· The store's famous main floor is one of the city's largest interior retail spaces constructed without any supporting columns at all.
· Nearly all of the gold Tiffany uses is tracked to a mine in Utah, avoiding sources that may finance questionable political activities overseas (such as the conflict in Congo as reported on a recent edition of "60 Minutes").
Eventually, of course, the doors had to open so the public could flood in, and as we left, we were given our own little blue bag containing a silver Tiffany keys heart key charm on a delicate chain for our time and attention. We have to admit that the store's fame and tourist-attraction quality has kept us from visiting as much as we might like. We hadn't been in the famous flagship in a while, which we regret. Once inside, we could probably spend all day looking at every single thing —so we'll be back. There's a lot to look at.
Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Midtown