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Judge the Jewels: Were Pharrell’s Diamond Tiffany & Co. Sunglasses Inspired by a Famous Antique?

They bear a striking resemblance to a pair of 17th century spectacles.





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The sighting: Pharrell recently attended a Kenzo fashion show sporting a dazzling pair of bejeweled Tiffany & Co. sunglasses. The shades are undeniably eye-catching, but what has the online jewelry community in a tizzy is that they look familiar.

The jewels: The spectacular Tiffany & Co. spectacles are made of 18K gold with almond-shaped lenses adorned with 61 round brilliant cut diamonds (over 25 carats) two emeralds.
Both Pharrell and Tiffany & Co hinted on social media that this moment is the start of a collaboration, but neither one revealed exactly what that project is or if the sunglasses were created as part of it.

What do we think? Pharrell’s sparkling shades bear a striking resemblance to a pair of 17th century Mughal spectacles that were up for at auction at Sotheby’s London in Fall 2021. The lot failed to sell, but the remarkable artifact received widespread press attention. As photos spread of Pharrell in his Tiffany’s sunnies, an online outcry about the obvious inspiration and lack of transparency about the homage quickly followed.


Photo from Instagram

What is a designer’s obligation when they find inspiration in a piece of ancient art? How do we define the line between an homage and a copy? If you borrow from someone who died centuries ago, what do you owe to them? I’m not sure how to answer all of these questions, but I can confirm that people are truly angry about this one.

My own Instagram newsfeed has been filled with jewelry industry colleagues reposting photos of the antique Mughal glasses with calls for Pharrell and Tiffany & Co. to publicly acknowledge where they found the inspiration for the design. The rapidly-spreading story has already made its way to Diet Prada, The Adventurine, and even GQ.

I’m a huge fan of bedazzled sunglasses and I would love to see a haute jollaire take on my favorite sunny day accessory…but this isn’t the way to do it.

Judgement: 8/10 for diamond sunglasses in general, 2/10 for this specific situation

Judge the Jewels: Were Pharrell’s Diamond Tiffany & Co. Sunglasses Inspired by a Famous Antique?

Photo from Instagram

What do YOU think?


Becky Stone writes about jewelry styles for INSTORE. She is founder and CEO of well-known jewelry blog Diamonds in the Library.



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