The Story of the Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate
Part 1. History of the Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate
Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate folders, 2023
Understanding the history of the Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate is a great way to help determine provenance; additionally, it can support authentication of the diamond itself. The evolution
of the Tiffany Diamond Certificate is not only about design, but also reflects constant advancement in diamond characteristic assessment and measurement.
Of course, as these become increasingly sophisticated, Tiffany & Co. have been able to push the boundaries of their own exacting standards when selecting diamonds for each Engagement Ring and other diamond jewellery.
Ever at the leading edge of design and quality in fine jewellery, Tiffany & Co. have regularly updated their Diamond Certificates to adapt to changing assessment techniques, advancements in technology and demands from customers for ever higher standards of quality and transparency.
Part 2. The 1990s
Tiffany first introduced their own diamond certificate in the 1990s, to inform consumers and to help authenticate the quality of their diamonds. These certificates provided descriptions of the diamond's attributes, helping customers understanding the specific characteristics of their diamond purchase. They provided a snapshot of the stone's quality and served as a testament to Tiffany's dedication to offering only the finest diamonds.
This early example (below) records a Diamond Registration Number, H11102, which is also
1990s Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate Folder
1990s Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate
engraved onto the band of the ring and makes reference to a ProportionScope, an instrument referred to on later certificates as an ’electronic proportion measurement system’.
Tiffany 1990s Engagement Ring showing Diamond Registration Number on band
GIA ProportionScope from the 1980s
The certificate is laminated and the folder is a navy blue polyurethane ‘leather’, known as PU leather, with gold embossed lettering to the front cover.
Part 3. Working with the GIA
As Tiffany sought to establish the reputational standards of their own diamond grading laboratory, they also issued certificates produced by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), recognised then – as it is today – as the world’s leading independent diamond laboratory.
The earliest pairing in our records, of the two diamond certificates goes back as far as 1998:
Tiffany Certificate with GIA Certificate, 1998
Accompanying GIA Diamond Certificate, 1998
Our example shows Emerald Cut Diamond certificates from Tiffany and GIA, perhaps most notable for the relatively limited amount of information they provide compared with modern day certificates.
Part 4. Laser Inscribed Diamonds
Our next example of this certificate duplication (below) is from 2002. Note that the GIA Certificate records the first laser inscription – Lucida™ – commissioned by Tiffany & Co. for their Lucida diamonds – although no mention of this is made on the Tiffany certificate! Of course, the Tiffany & Co. Diamond Registration Number appears on their certificate, along with the new serial number, which is now stamped on the band. Additionally the GIA Report number is detailed in the owner’s paperwork provided by Tiffany & Co; at that time Tiffany still saw the GIA as an important independent authority.
Tiffany Diamond Certificate, 2002
Accompanying GIA Certificate, 2002
The most recent example of certificate duplication is from 2005. Here there is no laser inscription on the diamond recorded on either the GIA or the Tiffany Certificate:
Tiffany & GIA Diamond Certificates, 2005
For the first time, Tiffany measure and record the cut precision of the diamond – leading the way towards today’s classification of most of their diamonds as Triple-X, denoting excellent cut, polish and symmetry. They also, for the first time, record the crown angle and pavilion depth. While the detail from GIA rather lags behind at this point; they were subsequently dropped by Tiffany & Co. as a service provider.
The earliest record of a Tiffany Diamond Registration Number inscribed on a diamond is actually from 2004. But of course, as diamonds are a relatively slow-moving retail item, a period of transition certainly occurred as Tiffany adopted new innovations and stock moved through their stores worldwide.
Part 5. A New Century
In this next example, the serial number indicates the ring is from around 2004 and underlines our findings that rings from this period can feature a couple of certificate styles, and that some diamonds, whilst of course having a diamond registration number, will not be laser inscribed:
Tiffany Diamond Certificate Folder, 2004
Tiffany Diamond Certificate in folder, 2004
It would of course have been impractical for Tiffany to recall all diamonds from all their stores to laser inscribe them! The folder is still in PU leather but is now black with the logo in larger type centred on the folder cover and no longer embossed in gold; the certificate is laminated.
The example below is also from c.2004 but provides more technical information about the diamond:
Tiffany Diamond Certificate new style A5 Folder, 2004
Tiffany Diamond Certificate new style, 2004
Notice too that the paper has changed; it is no longer laminated and is presented in updated A5 sized black PU folder with the Tiffany & Co. name embossed in a smaller font size. The certificate is also embossed with the Tiffany & Co. gemological laboratory insignia and the paper is watermarked.
Diamonds from this time will sometimes be laser inscribed and sometimes not, but at this point Tiffany no longer worked with the GIA, having established the credibility of their laboratory and adopted leading edge technologies, including laser engraving of the diamonds.
Around 2007 Tiffany diamond certificates were changed to a larger format. This certificate folder measures 12 inches in length:
Tiffany Diamond Certificate Folder, 2007
These folders did not last long, perhaps due to the size being a little cumbersome; again they were made from black PU leather and stamped Tiffany & Co. There is now a reference to the Tiffany & Co. crown inscription (below) which is laser inscribed on the diamond.
Tiffany Diamond Certificate, 2007
Tiffany Crown Inscription Certificate detail, 2007
The certificate is embossed with the Tiffany & Co gemological laboratory insignia and the paper is watermarked. By 2008 these folders had mostly vanished but of course, rings which already had large format certificates but had not yet sold did not have them replaced.
Part 6. From Black to Tiffany Blue®
Around 2009 Tiffany moved to replace the large black folder with a more modern approach. The new outer case was made from thick textured card in the classic 1837 Tiffany Blue®:
Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate, 2009
Both the serial number and laser inscription are recorded at the top. The certificate has changed to a folded landscape format, is no longer laminated and retains the embossed Tiffany & Co. gemological laboratory insignia and watermark. It was a period of relative stability; these certificates continued until around 2019.
In 2019 Tiffany & Co. launched an initiative to provide full disclosure on every diamond from every engagement ring. In addition to the regular diamond certificate a new diamond passport was added, showing where the diamonds were mined, prepared, polished, graded and set.
This change aligned with shifting consumer preferences, reflecting a growing desire for transparency and ethical considerations in luxury purchases.
Tiffany & Co. Diamond Passport, 2023
This new offering was presented in a new format, featuring thicker folded card and a hardback folder, still in the classic Tiffany Blue®:
Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate folders, 2023
The certificates are embossed with the Tiffany & Co. gemological laboratory insignia:
Tiffany & Co. Diamond Certificate, 2023
It also marked the gradual introduction of a newly designed ring box, replacing the black inner box with a sleekly designed Tiffany Blue® inner box with a sprung push-button opening mechanism.
Part 7. A Future Gaze
The evolution of Tiffany & Co.'s diamond certificates is a steady trajectory from traditional paper-based records and documentation to laser enhanced, technologically advanced diamond grading detail. Each iteration reflects the brand's commitment to innovation, transparency, and meeting the evolving needs of its clientele.
As the luxury brand jewellery industry continues to evolve, Tiffany & Co. remains at the forefront, utilising technology and sustainable practices to enhance the customer experience and uphold the highest standards of quality and authenticity in their diamond certification.
Who knows exactly what the future will hold, but we would expect that as technology advances, so will Tiffany & Co.'s approach to certification.
With the advent of a digital world and the growing demand for enhanced transparency, the company may adapt its certification processes to incorporate more sophisticated features, including perhaps a shift towards digital formats, offering customers easier access to their diamond's details and a more secure means of certification.
It is quite likely Tiffany will look to implement blockchain technology to create a secure and immutable record of each diamond's journey from its origin to its sale. Such an innovative approach will help ensure authenticity and ensure customers can trace the journey of their precious diamond from its formation two or three billion years ago, to its new place of rest, on their finger!
Enjoyed this article? Read about the History of the Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring here!