There is a Facebook photo being spread around social media that has gone completely viral — and has forced Tiffany & Co. to respond to accusations of selling slave collars. The Facebook page of Charles Jenkins posted the below photo of a Tiffany & Co. blue label resting inside a “brass female slave collar.”
As seen below, the photo’s description from Jenkins claims that Charles’ little sister sent him the photo with claims that Tiffany & Co. got their idea for a heart-shaped pendant attached to a choker from a slave collar.
The so-dubbed “18th Century Brass Slave Collar” claims to have an engraved named (Patterson) on it, along with fancy etchings.
The description of the “slave collar” claims that the heart-shaped pendant was a favorite of wealthy, white slave mistresses.
“However, it was not worn by them; instead it was used on her female slave. The collar was fitted around a Negro slave’s neck and attached to a leash…around like a pet. Years later, famed Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co. Jewelers, used this infamous collar as a [plate]…to design his best-selling, choker necklace, which has a heart-shaped pendant attached. The necklace remains very popular today.”
The label from the Lest We Forget Slavery Museum claimed that Tiffany & Co. turned their slave collar into a best-selling choker. The Facebook photo has been shared nearly 30,000 times from Jenkins’ page, with Charles commenting that the Tiffany & Co. slave collar is not the stuff found in history lessons.
“Lol crazy right. This is what’s not in the history books.”
The Facebook photo has gotten so much attention that Tiffany & Co. has responded on their own Facebook page to the claims that they got their choker design from a slave collar. In a post published on Tuesday, September 27, Tiffany & Co. wrote that the slave collar photo was troubling — and that they did not make any jewelry for the “deplorable” purpose of slavery in their nearly 180-year company history.
“We are deeply troubled by the image circulating of a ‘slave collar’ and can definitively assure you that this piece was not made by Tiffany, nor have we ever made any jewelry in our 179 year history for this deplorable purpose. We have contacted the Lest We Forget Slavery Museum in Philadelphia where this item was on display (not the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, as rumored), and confirmed that there is no provenance information on the piece, who made it, or any supporting documentation regarding its intended use. The museum agrees and has already removed all Tiffany references from its exhibit.”
Tiffany & Co. noted that the museum won’t reference Tiffany & Co. anymore in terms of calling the jewelers makers of slave collars, seeing as though the museum did not provide any proof of the slave collar accusations.
It’s no wonder that Tiffany & Co. would want to protect its stellar reputation. Tiffany & Co. is such a famous landmark that the jewelry store was shown in the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
As seen in the featured photo above, a model is shown in the window of Tiffany & Co. on famous Fifth Avenue. That photo was taken in New York, on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
The telltale blue bags and boxes of Tiffany & Co. are also a mainstay of both celebrities and non-famous folks who cherish the jewelry that can be found inside.
Tiffany & Co. gift boxes usually hold the kinds of jewels that women hope for — and those hopes usually don’t include slave collars. Snopes calls the original Facebook story mostly false.
As seen above, Reese Witherspoon celebrated the Tiffany & Co. 2016 Blue Book Celebration on Friday, April 15, in New York.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/AP Images]