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    Tiffany & Co.’s Victoria Reynolds on sourcing the gemstones behind the brand’s most famous pieces

    Imogen Clark

    As the the chief gemologist she has dedicated her life to finding the world’s finest rocks

    Victoria Reynolds has been on a lifelong pursuit to uncover nature’s most exceptional gemstones. Since starting her career at Tiffany & Co. in 1987, her breadth of knowledge evolved to its pinnacle four years ago, when she was appointed as the brand’s chief gemologist – the first female to hold the position in the marque’s then 185-year history. 

    Her primary function, she explains, is to acquire all of the stones for the high jewellery collections. The other aspect of her job is to work closely with Nathalie Verdeille, the chief artistic director of jewellery. “It’s an incredibly collaborative process because, if it’s her collection, she has to love the stones as much as I do,” she explains about their dynamic as a pair. “She’s got to be inspired by them, so it’s a lot of give and take. A lot of ‘Is the cut right?’ or ‘Is the colour right?’” A labour of love, according to Reynolds. 

    A luxurious Tiffany & Co. watch adorned with a dazzling gemstone face and intricate gold chain, bird on a rock.
    Tiffany & Co.'s Bird on a Rock necklace. Image: Supplied

    Like many of us, jewellery came into Reynolds’s life during her childhood, jingling from the neck and wrists of family members – most poignantly her grandmother’s. “She had incredible jewellery,” the gemologist recalls. “My earliest memories were playing with her jewellery.” Having earned a design degree in Jewellery and Metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design, Reynolds got her very first job at Tiffany & Co. in custom design before the brand funded her GIA qualification to work in diamond and gem labs. 

    It was here that her two areas of interest came together and ultimately led to where she is today. “You have people who love gems but they don’t necessarily love jewellery. Then you have people that love jewellery, but gems are secondary,” she explains. “In this role, when you’re surrounded by creativity and the beauty of Tiffany, it really goes hand-in-hand to me. You can have any kind of exceptional gemstone and an exceptional piece of jewellery. But if you put the two together, you have magic.” 

    A stunning Tiffany & Co. ring featuring intricate bird designs embellished with diamonds and gemstones, bird on a rock.
    Tiffany & Co.'s Bird on a Rock ring. Image: Supplied

    She describes the past four years as being ‘exceptional’, tracing the vast evolution that the American jewellery company has had in the small space of time. “The brand has always stood for so much and I think, in a lot of ways, we’re coming back to all of those things that made us special,” she says, touching upon the benefits of the LVMH acquisition three years ago. “I think people forget how great the brand is: Jean Schlumberger diamonds and coloured gemstones, George Kunz... I mean, an incredible legacy.” 

    Marking another feat in Tiffany & Co.’s Diamond Source Initiative – a commitment to full traceability of their sourcing – in 2023, they were granted access to Mr Hussein Al Fardan’s private collection of pearls – the largest in the Gulf region. “His knowledge, his grace, his passion around these pearls is unparalleled,” recalls Reynolds. 

    The result was an exclusive capsule titled Bird on a Pearl, a collection that took inspiration from Schlumberger’s brooch from 1965, comprising 21 pieces using the bird motif and Al Fardan’s rare natural saltwater pearls.

A pair of exquisite Tiffany & Co. earrings featuring large pearls and intricate bird designs adorned with diamonds, bird on a pearl.
    Tiffany & Co.'s Bird on a Pearl earrings. Image: Supplied

    “Every single one of those pieces was inspired by the pearl, whether it was colour or shape,” she states. “His whole lifetime has been dedicated to acquiring the finest pearls in the world. It was very important to us that what we did with these was not only going to make him happy but was going to be as aspirational as the pearls themselves.”

    Bringing the collection to Dubai in 2024, Reynolds acknowledges the importance of launching the collection here. “They came from the Persian Gulf, so it makes sense that they come home here,” she says. 

    With the current renaissance of pearls, she emphasises the beauty in their rarity. “For centuries, the Gulf was producing these extraordinary gifts of nature. One in every 10,000 oysters produces a pearl – think of that number statistically,” she says. “That’s truly rare. That’s truly scarcity. That’s truly beauty.”

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