Tiffany & Co hosts Diamonds & Wonders extravaganza in Bangkok

It offered luxury connoisseurs the chance to get creative with one of the storied jeweller’s best-known creations — the Bird on a Rock brooch.

The Park Hyatt Bangkok proved to be the perfect venue for the Diamonds & Wonders presentation (All photos: Tiffany & Co)

Auction scenes in feature films are always memorable. From the classic 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where everyone bids hoping to score the chocolate bar embedded with a golden ticket to the aforementioned chocolate promised land, to the 2008 Sex and the City movie based on the television series of the same name, there’s something sexy about owning an item that tells a story and whose value would only appreciate with time. Case in point? The Bird on a Rock brooch, first introduced in 1965 by Tiffany & Co. A recent Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction featured the crested diamond bird perched atop a pink tourmaline under its “Important Jewels” lots with an estimate of between HK$90,000 and HK$180,000 (RM51,000 and RM104,000).

Designed by Jean Schlumberger, widely considered to be one of the greatest artist-jewellers of the 20th century, the brooch — said to be inspired by the yellow-crested cockatoo — is perhaps the best known of the Mulhouse-born French designer’s oeuvre which always draws from the glory of flora, fauna and even mythical creatures.


The Bird on a Rock is greatly favoured by collectors

Having begun his collaboration with the storied New York jeweller in 1956, Schlumberger forms part of an elite coterie of talents, together with Paloma Picasso and Elsa Peretti, who are allowed to lend their signatures to the final Tiffany & Co creations. Naturally, Schlumberger’s fans were the crème de la crème of the day, including modern-day style legends and great beauties like the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. It was also said that former American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore so many of his bright diamond and paillonné enamel bracelets that they were soon nicknamed “Jackie bracelets” by the mainstream media.

Although Schlumberger passed away in 1987 at the grand old age of 80, his legacy and designs remain as relevant and vivacious as ever. The Bird on a Rock, in particular, is greatly favoured by collectors. The late Bunny Mellon, Listerine heiress and wife of financier and philanthropist Paul Mellon, was one of its first collectors, pairing her white and yellow diamond Bird with a cabochon lapis lazuli stone. Enamoured by the playful bijou, Mellon is said to have gone on to buy seven more in different bejewelled expressions. A cornerstone of Schlumberger’s inimitable style and regularly reinterpreted by Tiffany & Co, the company went on to reset its famous and prized Tiffany Yellow Diamond, weighing a gobstopping 128.54 carats, into the iconic ornithological mounting for a 1995 retrospective in Schlumberger’s honour at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.


Thai actor Pongtiwat Tangwancharoen, singer Nicha “Min” Yontararak and actor Metawin Opas-iamkajorn

Early March, Tiffany & Co hosted an extravagant Diamonds & Wonders event in Bangkok, which brought over 100 guests from across the region and Australia to witness upclose Schlumberger’s mastery melded with unmatchable Tiffany hospitality. Ensconced in the minimalist comfort of the Capella Hotel and emerging only to dine at Michelin-starred restaurants or for private viewing sessions at the Park Hyatt Hotel, guests turned up in their finery for the culmination of the four day luxury escapade: a gala dinner at Capella’s grand ballroom. A bevy of local television and film stars, like Taew Natapohn Tameeruks, Thanapob Leeratanakajorn, Nune Woranuch Bhirombhakdi and Inn Sarin Ronnakiat, were also in attendance while the custom menu was especially created by Arnaud Dunand Sauthier, the culinary talent who helped win two Michelin stars for the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s Le Normandie restaurant before departing to establish his own Maison Dunand.

The Park Hyatt Bangkok proved to be the perfect venue for the Diamonds & Wonders presentation. As guests made their way from the serene riverside Capella Hotel to the bustling Pathum Wan district, they were treated to a sensorial experience with Tiffany & Co, beginning with a walk-through of the company’s history, notes on Schlumberger’s long friendship with the house and, most special of all, a Bird on a Rock creative demonstration done live by Mike Hodson, flown in from New York especially for the occasion.

Guests were also invited to play around with a new tool that allowed them to visualise their dream Bird on a Rock brooch, choosing first from 10 custom designs with the birds in slightly different poses before proceeding to select their preferred “rock” from a choice of 11 gemstones and then, finally, seeing their design in a 3D model format in rotation. And as if that wasn’t dazzling enough, Tiffany created a special room dedicated to assorted loose gemstones in a starlit setting. Those lucky enough to have placed their orders through the made-to-order Bird on a Rock customisation programme now just need to sit back and be patient. It takes about six months to complete, at an estimated cost range of US$100,000 to US$380,000 (RM448,500 to RM1.7 million).


This article first appeared on Mar 20, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.


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