‘Tiffany’s! Cartier! Talk to me Harry Winston.’ So Marilyn Monroe coos in her song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, seductively capturing the allure of shopping on Fifth Avenue around 57th Street. The glittering display windows of all three renowned jewelers, as well as some of the world’s other finest shops, grace this stretch of the avenue.
Cartier (at 52nd St and Fifth Ave) has been bejeweling royalty since 1847, and along the way has made such savvy business maneuvers as introducing the first men’s wristwatch, in 1904. The New York store occupies a beautiful mansion purchased in 1917 for $100 and a pearl necklace valued at $1 million.
The Harry Winston (at 56th St and Fifth Ave) collection once included the deep-blue 45.52 carat Hope Diamond (now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC). The shop still sells distinctive jewels in service to the founder’s informal motto, ‘People will stare. Make it worth their while.’
Tiffany’s (at 57th St and Fifth Ave) was founded in 1834, and moved to its distinctive limestone flagship store in 1940. Over the years the vendor of jewelry, silverware, and stationery has catered to Astors, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and others for whom the Tiffany name is the epitome of refinement.
While it is not possible to have breakfast at Tiffany’s, a coffee and croissant in the nearby Bouchon, (1 Rockefeller Plaza, tel: 212-782-3890, Mon–Fri from 7am, Sat–Sun from 8am) will start off a morning of shopping in suitably stylish fashion.
A trilogy of nearby Fifth Avenue department stores, Saks (at 50th St), Henri Bendel (at 57th St) and Bergdorf Goodman (at 57th St) are venues for a slightly more affordable, but no less refined shopping spree.