How Tiffany Moved 114,000 Gems Without Getting Robbed


Tiffany is subleasing its temporary space from Nike. The building on East 57th Street is owned by the Trump Organization, which also owns Trump Tower, Tiffany’s neighbor on the Fifth Avenue side of its own building. Tiffany says that business slowed in 2016 after Donald J. Trump was elected president because security was tightened amid protests in the blocks around Trump Tower.

But Tiffany says business has rebounded since.

Tiffany moved into its building in 1940 after spending $2,484,079.09 on construction; as the writer Joseph Purtell noted in his book “The Tiffany Touch,” after several years of losses in the 1930s, “for the first time Tiffany’s was counting the pennies.” He wrote that the only items that disappeared in the move were “three inexpensive cups and two glasses.”

This time, Tiffany relied on employees who started emptying the display cases about an hour after the store closed at 4 p.m., two hours earlier than usual.

On the second floor, in what Tiffany calls the “love and engagement” department — where it sells engagement rings and wedding bands — Leslee Nugent, an employee, was packing a 10.64-carat engagement ring priced at $2.475 million.

She said it was the kind of ring that customers notice as they circle the display cases and ask her to take it out. “They don’t understand the gravity of it until I do,” she said. “That’s when they say, ‘How much?’ and ‘Oh, my gosh, how much is that again?’ They usually can’t believe it. They have to look at the tag.”

But it was not the only large ring that had to be packed up. Ms. Nugent said there were 18 rings in the same display case that weighed more than three carats, including an 8.41 carat ring (priced at $1.645 million) and a 4.52 carat ring ($779,000).

“There’s over $10 million in this box,” said Tony Mavashev, a salesman who was watching.

The box with the $10 million in rings was loaded onto a cart that was locked and, just before it was wheeled out of the employees’ entrance of the store, sealed in shrink-wrap. The police stopped pedestrians on 57th Street while it was in transit.


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