When Tiffany's gem buyers were offered a selection of remarkably rare conch pearls last year, they seized the opportunity to create a connoisseur collection for the company's special customers. According to Melvyn Kirtley, group vice president at Tiffany & Co., "the more you look at these pearls, the more you see their beauty, wonderful color, and the flame pattern that looks like moiré silk." Pearls from conchs in the Caribbean, he says, tend to be light peach, salmon, or deep pink. The Melo pearl from the sea snail of the South China Sea is more spherical, and colors vary from light peach to cream. Only one conch in 10,000 produces a pearl, and one pearl in a hundred is gem quality.
This collection, largely inspired by Tiffany's Art Nouveau archives and the designs of Paulding Farnham, isn't available in stores but is being sold privately by the firm. "We last used conch pearls in a necklace created shortly after Farnham left the company in 1908," says Kirtley. "So these pieces connect our past with current-day customers—the best of all worlds."
Triple-drop earrings ($155,000); brooch ($90,000); tassel pendant ($165,000); caged pendant ($65,000). All with diamonds mounted in platinum; 212-605-4420.