Tiffany & Co. is a company that is still popular today and gives its customers the highest quality of products. Charles Tiffany, who started Tiffany & Co., began an American tradition. The American tradition of Tiffany has deep roots in our history and it was the way in which US Presidents proclaimed their love for their spouses. Some first ladies even purchased Tiffany dinnerware to use for dinners and welcome dignitaries to the White House. Tiffany Tower still stands in Newark, New Jersey and is a landmark of our great historical past since the finest silverware was made in the facility. There are so many interesting stories about US Presidents who purchased jewelry from Tiffany and first ladies who used Tiffany dinnerware.
As a token of his love for her, President Lincoln bought Mrs. Lincoln a string of pearls, earrings and other jewelry manufactured by Tiffany, which totaled twenty-six hundred dollars in two years. Mr. Lincoln started an American tradition to buy from Tiffany that other presidents and first ladies would follow.
President Eisenhower designed a gold medallion in the shape of a wreath with a star, from Tiffany, for his wife Mamie. One side of the wreath was engraved with the following sentiment: “For never failing help since 1916 - in calm and in stress, in dark days and in bright. Love Ike, Christmas, 1955.”
As First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower gave eight inch roses growing in clay pots, from Tiffany, as presents for the wives of distinguished visitors to the White House. Mrs. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy also ordered many of these clay pots to give as gifts to guests of the White House.
When Mrs. Kennedy became First Lady, President Kennedy gave her a strawberry clip in rubies and diamonds, from Tiffany, designed by Schlumberger. With her taste for style, Mrs. Kennedy will always be remembered as a very sophisticated and elegant first lady.
All first ladies, among many other important roles, are responsible for being great hostesses and setting up dinners at the White House. As First Lady, Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson, who was called Ladybird Johnson, changed the designs of the dinner and dessert plates of the White House. She was looking for a more contemporary design that exemplified the American spirit. She decided to purchase dinnerware from Tiffany. The dinner plates contained 90 of our native wild flowers; the dessert plates had a different state flower in the center.
To honor our American roots, some of the plates contained the American eagle. Andre Piette, who was a Tiffany artist, gave the service a unique look, for the flowers on the plates had stems and roots. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson often had an average of a hundred and ninety guests attending a White House dinner.
Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Eisenhower, Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson, were first ladies who had unique personalities and came from different periods in our American history, who all shared one commonality, a love of Tiffany, a truly American tradition.
Purtell, Joseph. The Tiffany Touch. New York: Pocket Books, 1973.