A meeting of icons

GLOSS THE RECORD - Marbbie Tagabucba - The Philippine Star
A meeting of icons
Love on top: Powerhouse couple Jay-Z (left) and Beyoncé collaborate with Tiffany & Co. in the brand's newest campaign "About Love."
Photo by MASON POOLE courtesy of TIFFANY & CO.

“Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate,” the Carters Beyoncé and Jay-Z say about their newest campaign and collaboration with Tiffany & Co. But there’s more to this photo shoot than meets the eye. Here’s what we know so far:

A rarely seen Basquiat makes its first appearance in a campaign

At the center of the campaign is a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Titled “Equals Pi,” the masterpiece by the prolific artist dates back to 1982 — generally regarded to be around his creative peak and his most collectible year — bearing his most recognizable motifs like the skull and crown.

Before Tiffany & Co. acquired it (for a rumored eight figures!), the Basquiat painting was in the possession of Alberto and Stefania Sabbadini, the founders of the Sabbadini jewelry empire, based out of Milan. In 2018, “Equals Pi” was photographed with Stefania and daughter Micól for W's feature of their eclectic Milan home and their predominantly blue-hued art collection that spans the likes of Andy Warhol, Victor Brauner and Damien Hirst.

Robin’s Egg Blue dominates the canvas. Alexandre Arnault, Tiffany executive vice president of products and communications, muses there might be some sort of connection.

“We know he loved New York, and that he loved luxury and he loved jewelry,” he said in an interview with WWD. “The color is so specific that it has to be some kind of homage.”

However, the connection is denied by the late artist’s assistant Stephen Torton, who mixed the color for the artist himself.

Basquiat’s estate is under global licensing agency Artestar, which has been responsible for the many Basquiat brand collaborations through the years, but never “Equals Pi.”

The Tiffany Blue color of Robin’s Egg Blue was registered as a color trademark by Tiffany & Co. only in 1998 and produced as a private custom color by Pantone, with PMS number 1837, the number deriving from the year of Tiffany's foundation. But we can definitely see the resemblance!

Thanks to this campaign, the painting will now be on permanent display for everyone to see at the Tiffany & Co. flagship store in New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

This is the first campaign for The Carters

Both Grammy award winners have starred in multiple campaigns before, but never as a couple. They have also gone through some ups and downs in their relationship, documented in Beyoncé’s cathartic 2016 album “Lemonade.” Fittingly so, the brand says that the campaign “is an exploration of connection and vulnerability.”

“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the epitome of the modern love story. As a brand that has always stood for love, strength and self-expression, we could not think of a more iconic couple that better represents Tiffany’s values. We are honored to have the Carters as a part of the Tiffany family,” says Alexandre.

Beyonce is the first Black woman to wear the Tiffany Diamond

And the fourth person to wear it, ever. She was preceded by Lady Gaga at the 2019 Oscars, Audrey Hepburn during the Breakfast At Tiffany’s press tour in 1961, and socialite Mary Whitehouse who debuted it at the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Tiffany Diamond is worn in a campaign for the first time in history

The Tiffany Diamond weighs 128.54 carats and boasts 82 facets and is considered among the most important gemstone discoveries of the 19th century. Unearthed in 1877 in the Kimberley Mines of South Africa, founder Charles Lewis Tiffany purchased the rough diamond in 1878 for US$18,000. Today, its rumored worth is US$30 million — but thanks to its rich history spanning the jewelry world and pop culture, it is priceless and not for sale.

It's a sneak peek of a new design

Jay-Z wears Jean Schlumberger’s legendary Bird on a Rock brooch, reconstructed as a pair of one-of-a-kind cuff links for the campaign, and is a peek into a “new design to launch in 2022,” according to the brand. He pairs it with Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger Apollo brooch in platinum and 18k yellow gold with diamonds, and a vivid blue cushion-cut Sri Lankan sapphire ring of over four carats.

This campaign ushers in a new brand identity for Tiffany

Under new corporate parent LVMH, the American brand that is synonymous with the world’s greatest love stories since it was founded in 1837, “About Love” marks the latest evolution of the luxury jeweler’s new creative direction.

The campaign is the result of a close collaboration and a shared vision between both the Carters and Tiffany.

To be released this month is a film by acclaimed director Emmanuel Adjei featuring a musical performance of Moon River, the 1961 Mancini tune featured in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, reimagined with vocals by Beyoncé and captured by Jay-Z on a Super 8 camera at the Orum House in Los Angeles to serve as the setting for the film interwoven with nostalgic flashbacks. The accompanying print campaign (pictured) was shot by Mason Poole and styled by June Ambrose and Marni Senofonte. The campaign will further unfold later this year with additional films created by acclaimed director Dikayl Rimmasch and second unit director Derek Milton.

As a part of the house’s partnership with the Carters, Tiffany & Co. pledges a $2 million commitment in scholarship and internship programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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