Tiffany & Co. celebrates its 175th anniversary this year with a little brand alchemy. Press releases trumpeting Tiffany's posh "new jeweler's metal," coined and trademarked Rubedo (Latin for "red"), continues unabated. But many specialists have taken umbrage with both the "new" and the "metal" portions of Tiffany's claim.
Rubedo, a beautiful blush-gold, is actually composed of small parts silver and zinc, 55% copper, and only 31% gold; in fact, Rubedo has no actual karat value, or too low as to not matter. As specialists point out, it's an alloy, not a new metal, and it turns out it's not all that valuable (despite the $7,500 price tag attached to their "Ultrawide Rubedo Cuff"). From a brand whose sumptuous tagline was "diamonds by the yard," Rubedo might seem like the tarnish on a once-gilded brand.
What Rubedo jewelry actually demonstrates, however, is the value forged in a name. Specialists aside, consumers love Rubedo, because they love Tiffany. After all, Tiffany's diamonds were Marilyn's best friend in the famous song that mentions the company not once but twice. Audrey ate Danishes with studied concentration while parked in front of the brand's 5th Avenue stronghold. The name Tiffany's, like that of any other storied brand, is actually short-hand for meaning – what the brand represents in the consumer's mind. And with that meaning comes value beyond gold.
Tiffany & Co. fully understands what's in the famed name, as evidenced by the fact that the Rubedo pieces are stamped with Charles Lewis Tiffany's timeless signature. This signature essentially backs the pieces, ensuring that customers will be willing to pay for the luxury of worth beyond actual price value.
It's not every brand that could turn copper into gold. Tiffany's shows us the alchemy a brand can work with the right mettle.