Luxury: Iconic Tiffany & Co. opens in Prague
The blue box finally has a home in Central and Eastern Europe
Posted: January 2, 2013
No jeweler in the world has brand recognition quite like Tiffany & Co. does. Think the robin's-egg box elegantly tied shut with a white ribbon. Now Prague has that, too.
After four years of searching the region for the ideal spot, the iconic American jeweler, which turned 175 in 2012, ended up opening shop at Pařížská street 10.
"The opening of our first store in Eastern Europe is a significant strategic move for Tiffany as we further develop and grow our business within Europe," said Melvin Kirtley, the group's vice president for Europe. And so, with praise and proclamations, CEO and Chairman of the Board Michael Kowalski christened the Prague shop and welcomed us into the fold of the luxury brand that oozes American sophistication.
The storefront is beautiful in a classic Breakfast at Tiffany's sense, but the interior of the pristine two-story 240 square meter space instantly reconnects you to a bygone era. Wheat-leaf, dragonfly and magnolia images evoke and pay homage to the American landscape and to Louis Comfort Tiffany, the founder's son, an artist who used the motifs in his own work. Aside from that, little pieces of Prague also found their way into the new space.
"All the artwork in the Prague store, including the lighting, is bespoke creations," said Gitta Gräfin Lambsdorff, managing director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe. "Sculptor Graham Caldwell learned his glassmaking technique during an exchange program at the Academy of Arts in Prague, and Tiffany commissioned Mr. Caldwell to create the beautiful piece displayed on the ground floor. This sculpture captures the many colors found in the Tiffany jewels."
Once you've managed to overcome the grandeur, you'll notice a staggering assortment that is similar to many other Tiffany stores within Europe, though china, crystal and porcelain collections are currently not available. And, though many stores on Pařížská street can seem stuffy if not down-right snobby, Tiffany & Co. takes pride in "democratic" luxury offerings: "At Tiffany, there is something for everyone," Lambsdorff says. "From beautiful silver and gold jewelry, to superb diamonds and other precious gemstones, we are excited to offer this range in Prague."
There are plenty of other pieces and collections to assist in celebrating this new democracy or, as Lambsdorff puts it so poetically, at Tiffany "a woman is spoiled for choice." She especially loves the timeless style of Elsa Peretti, "her sinuous design and ... the interesting materials she uses."
(Full disclosure: My own personal Tiffany discovery came at the tender age of 16, with the beads collection still my go-to jewelry for rushing about my day or sprucing up for a cocktail party.)
Many people are surprised to learn that several Tiffany collections - the beads included - are relatively affordable. In the Prague store, there are divine pieces that start at a little more than 3,000 Kč. Add this reasonable price point to the Tiffany hallmark of craftsmanship, and you will be hard-pressed to find such delectable jewelry anywhere else.
Granted, carat sizes and collections may vary depending upon the store and the country, but what truly makes Tiffany a diamond in a sea of coal is the unrivaled customer service. Knowledgeable and well-groomed staff are available for any pertinent questions, and the price of an item does not subtract from their attentiveness. This is the essence of the Tiffany philosophy: All customers are VIPs, and that experience keeps them coming back to the brand as they mark the major occasions in their lives.
Perhaps it was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's who explained the experience best: the "quietness and the proud look of it - nothing very bad could happen to you there." And, though Prague had to wait for its own such sanctuary to be built on Pařížská, we can take refuge there now that it has finally arrived. There are few more pleasurable things in life than receiving that blue box from Tiffany & Co. and knowing that whatever is inside will be perfect.
Heather O'Brien can be reached at