Pharrell Williams on His First Tiffany & Co. Jewelry Collection


When Pharrell Williams was growing up in Virginia Beach, his grandmother took him to the Neptune Festival, a parade in the Seven Cities region. The annual celebration honored one local Good Samaritan by crowning them King Neptune, something akin to being named community MVP.

This, Williams explains on a Zoom call from his home base, in Tokyo, is just one of many ways the theme of water has played a significant role in his life. “I was raised in a neighborhood called Atlantis—the city in the sea,” Williams tells me. “I loved this cartoon called Jabberjaw, about this huge shark who played in a band called the Neptunes. I was obsessed with the beach, taking showers, sinks, and running water. When I heard the sound of running water, music would come to me.” He would go on to name his original music group, with Chad Hugo, the Neptunes.

Now sea deities are serving as a source of inspiration yet again for Williams, who, in addition to producing hits for the likes of Travis Scott, Rosalía, and Kendrick Lamar, is the creative director of Louis Vuitton Men’s. His latest venture? A jewelry collection for Tiffany & Co., which he began teasing in 2022, when he strode into Kenzo’s fall runway show wearing a pair of custom diamond-encrusted sunglasses and declared that “Tiffany and I are engaged.” (One year later, he donned another, even more blingy pair for his debut at LV.)

Blésnya wears Louis Vuitton Men’s clothing (throughout); Tiffany & Co. jewelry (throughout).

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Named Tiffany Titan by Pharrell Williams, the collection consists of 16 pieces: necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, in 18 karat gold, black titanium, and diamonds. All of them feature small spikes. Jutting out between chain links on a choker, they give the impression of a crown of thorns; arranged into a cross shape on a pair of earrings, they look like a glinting star. These “pointers,” as Williams refers to them, are a nod to the trident held by Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea (Neptune is his counterpart in Roman mythology). “The fork of the deity has a spiky aspect that has punk vibes,” he points out.

“And then there’s Titan,” Williams says, adjusting the tilt of his cream-colored cowboy hat. “There was this poetic symbolism between Titan, the planetary body, and titanium, the metal.” He was excited to find out that the material can be made in black; five of the pieces included in the collection have been rendered in a charcoal hue, accented with yellow gold and diamonds. “What does the word ‘black’ mean? It’s a color, it’s a skin tone, it’s a culture. It’s time we really explore what that word means to people socially, economically, creatively,” says Williams. “I wanted to inspire people with artifacts and objects that explore the word ‘black.’ Using titanium is the first iteration.

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“There’s just so much divisiveness out there in the world. It’s so crazy how there are these older institutions—and some new ones, by the way—that want to divide. I don’t think they understand that a full-fledged welcome opens up life,” he continues. “I suppose that’s what we get to do here. I’m particularly touched because these types of opportunities are not afforded to many people who look like me. At the same time, I get to contribute to the long legacy of incredibly symbolic designs.”

Since its founding, in 1837, Tiffany has been associated with old-school luxury. But, in fact, many of its most iconic designs have been the result of collaborations with forward-thinking creatives. In the 1970s, the house tapped the Halston muse Elsa Peretti, who created now ubiquitous pieces like the bone cuff, the bean pendant, and the open heart, among other organic motifs; in the ’80s, the fashion designer Paloma Picasso introduced olive leaves and graffiti-style lettering to the visual lexicon. Perhaps Williams’s closest aesthetic peer is the artist Jean Schlumberger, who joined Tiffany in the 1950s. His work often mixed gold and platinum, and some of his most coveted pieces were modeled after sea creatures and shells.

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Anyone who has followed Williams’s career since the Neptunes days is bound to see this new foray as a natural progression. “Jewelry has been important to me this entire time,” he says. In the aughts, working with jewelers such as Lorraine Schwartz and Jacob & Co., he created colorful, cartoonish chains, rings, grills, and watches that took hip-hop style to another level. In 2022, through his online platform Joopiter, he auctioned off a selection of his most recognizable Jacob & Co. chains, including one with a diamond-encrusted pendant of the astronaut-head logo for Billionaire Boys Club, the streetwear brand he founded with the Japanese designer Nigo in 2003. A note that accompanied the lot described it well: “Much like Pharrell and all of his projects, it is of this earth, but out of this world.”

Williams’s family is another source of inspiration. His mother, Carolyn, and his father, Pharoah, were decked out in gold jewelry throughout his childhood. “They wore pendants and charms related to their zodiac signs,” he says, adding that his father is a quintessential Cancer, while his mom is “such a Libra—she’d be rolling her eyes right now if she heard me say this, but she is.” The first major piece of bling Williams purchased for himself was connected to his musical roots: a ring he found at a shop in Washington, D.C., that he felt drawn to because “it had the same design as a ring Slick Rick had.”

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Given the many gigs Williams has to juggle, it’s no surprise that he’s always working. In fact, in the middle of our chat, he suddenly halts as if struck by lightning, then says, “I just realized we should be doing a belly chain with the Titan link too.” (One can imagine an assistant or colleague running across the room to write the idea down.) Williams knows that talent, grit, and taste have gotten him far, but there are other elements to his success that aren’t so easy to pinpoint. “There is a big portion of my life that I cannot explain, and that is because it’s from the mind of god,” he says. “But most other things, I can tell you—there’s always some water in there.”

Hair by Melissa Rouillé for Phyto at Artlist; Makeup by Aya Murai for Westman Atelier at Calliste Agency; Grooming by Johnny “Cake” Castellanos at H.Q.E; Model: BlÉsnya at The Society Management; casting by DM Casting; Casting Assistant: Brandon Contreras; Produced by AP studio; Production manager: Marie Godeau Robinson; Production Coordinator: Gabrielle Lussier; Lighting Assistants: Pietro Lazzaris, Freddy Persson; Fashion Assistant: Marine Gabaut; Production Assistants: William Halbers, Hugo Lemanceau.



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