[Tidbits] Tiffany's Orchid

The name of this flower derives from the Greek word Orchis … which
means–as I’m sure you all know–testicle. So … one day when you’re
in your local florist shop and you smell a sweet aroma … and you
notice a few orchids in the showcase … hold yourself back from
asking the owner if it’s those orchids that smell so sweet … lest
he begins grinning at you in a peculiar fashion.

The orchid was once used as emergency food on long sea voyages. It
was also used as an aphrodisiac to excite sexual desire. And it was
used in order to pre-determine the sex of an unborn child. Rumor has
it that it has been used as the name of an ezine if you can believe
that. And of course–last but not least–it has been represented in

Which brings us to an orchid by the name of Catleya Bicolor which
hails from Brazil. It is this flower I am going to introduce today.

The orchid you are all about to see was one of 25 enameled orchid
brooches especially made by Tiffany and company for the 1889 Paris
Exposition Universelle. They were designed by Paulding Farnham and
enameled by Edward C. Moore.

This three dimensional flower has brown, yellow, purple, and white
enamel applied to the petals. The reverse of the petals are enameled
in corresponding colors. One petal is edged with rose cut diamonds.
The stem is set with small emeralds accenting a rose cut diamond
pave background. The spines are of gold … karat not given. Did I
mention this is one of the most gorgeous brooches I’ve ever seen.

I segue. For those of you who love biographical data … Paulding
was born in New York City in 1859. His maternal aunt married a
Charles T. Cook who was then the vice president of Tiffany and
eventually became president. This re-enforces the theory that it is
indeed who you know that counts.

Paulding trained in Tiffany’s silver shop and ultimately began
creating the series of orchids for which he became known. Tiffany
received a gold medal for jewelry at the Paris Exposition due–in
large–to the orchid brooches. They were considered by the then
Jeweler’s Weekly as being “so perfectly copied after nature as to
inspire unqualified admiration …” And that–for a plant whose name
is derived from the Greek word for testicles–ain’t no picayune
thang. For those of you who are new to this thing called
Tidbits…may I direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com
where you will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the
area that says Current Tidbits … and you will get to see this
flower of unmatched beauty.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark