Debating Tiffany & Co.’s Rubedo

By Erika W.

Tiffany & Co.’s Rubedo metal alloy has sparked debate, as industry professionals and consumers question the metal content and the prices of these rose-colored jewelry pieces, which were introduced last February. According to an article in The New York Times, Rubedo is approximately 55 percent copper and 31 percent gold with a bit of zinc and silver. It’s equivalent to about 7.5 karat gold. Because of the minimal gold content, the company cannot call the metal “gold.” So the alloy has been given a name, which means “redness” in Latin, a term once used by alchemists to signify alchemical success.

From Tiffany’s February press release:

“In the medieval philosophy of alchemy, Rubedo was the title of the very highest achievement, when matter and spirit fused to create something of rare beauty.”

Peggy Jo Donahue, director of public affairs at MJSA, the association for jewelry makers and designers, has provided a breakdown of the issues and debates related to the metal. She outlines Rubedo’s meaning, and she has published industry professionals’ comments about the metal’s potential for tarnishing, its influence, and price.

Visit “Debating Rubedo” at MJSA to read Ms. Donahue’s full synopsis.

Tiffany Rubedo Cuff

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