Tiffany breaks ground for new jewelry plant in Kentucky

A Tiffany brooch circa 1968.
A Tiffany brooch circa 1968. William Archie / Detroit Free Press / MCT

Luxury jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. broke ground in Lexington on Wednesday for a new manufacturing plant, its first outside the Northeast. It will employ 125 people.

Lexington's quality of life was among the top reasons that the company — known worldwide for its high-quality jewelry in the iconic blue box — says it chose Lexington for its expansion.

"There's hospitality, there's Southern hospitality, and then there's Lexington hospitality," John Petterson, senior vice president of operations and manufacturing, told the Herald-Leader. "We've been treated very, very well."

The company was founded in 1837, and its products — which include diamond, gemstone and sterling silver jewelry and gifts, watches, china, fragrances, eyewear and scarves — have become synonymous with luxury. Its image has been bolstered by its flagship store, on New York's Fifth Avenue, which has appeared in the classic film like Breakfast at Tiffany's and more modern-day fare, including Sweet Home Alabama.

The addition of a company with that kind of status brings the possibility of luring others, said Central Kentucky businessman Bill Lear, who helped secure the deal while working with Commerce Lexington on economic development issues.

"They say you're known by the company you keep," Lear said. "Any time you're dealing with the business community, it helps to have someone who is at the very top of their industry.

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