Since 1837, Tiffany & Co.  has looked to the natural world for design inspiration and the precious materials that give form to its designs. Tiffany views the protection of the places and communities from which these materials come as both a moral obligation and a business imperative.
Recognizing that there is no sustainable way to harvest corals without damaging critical marine ecosystems, Tiffany has refused to use real corals in its collections since 2002. They urge other users of coral to join them in a formal "No Coral Sales" policy.
Tiffany window designers have created a fantasy world around this serious subject. Each window offers a different view—and a different hue—of the ocean floor. The topography of hills and alleys is shaped by glittering sand and bathed in deep blue, pristine white, lavender, or turquoise. Gossamer fabric forms waves of color and bubbles swirl around vibrant coral shapes sculpted in resin.
The ocean-themed windows seek to inform the public that corals are living animals. Together with the reef systems that they help create, corals provide marine life with food and fertile grounds for reproduction. "Today, corals are in crisis—the result of destructive fishing methods, climate change, and their removal for use as decorative objects and jewelry" said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co. "In 2002 we discontinued selling coral jewelry, concluding that in a world where corals and reef communities are under siege, we could not be complicit in their destruction. It is our hope to raise consumer awareness of this important issue and to urge fellow jewelers to join us in refusing to sell coral jewelry."
Tiffany also supports SeaWeb and its Too Precious to Wear  campaign, designed to educate consumers and retailers about coral conservation. Tiffany also backs the reauthorization of the U.S. Coral Reef Conservation Act  and the addition of red coral to the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II, which lists species that could become threatened with extinction if trade is not carefully monitored.
The "Under the Sea" windows will be on view in Tiffany stores worldwide  throughout the summer, with rotating designs from Tiffany's renowned collections.
Tiffany & Co. has supported CORAL's conservation work in Hawaii since 2005.
Photos by Joe Schildhorn