With her sculptural shapes and new approach to luxury, Elsa Peretti forever changed 20th-century jewellery design.
Born in Florence in 1940, Peretti was an Italian jewellery designer and philanthropist, as well as a fashion model. Her precious stone and design pieces for Tiffany & Co. are included in the 20th-century collection of the British Museum, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
In 1974, “Halstonette” fashion model Peretti arrived at Tiffany’s with her modern jewellery. Her broadly popular work, including pieces like ‘Bean’, ‘Bone Cuff’ and ‘Open Heart’, became as much as 10 per cent of Tiffany’s business. It is not for nothing that John Lorning’s ‘Tiffany Style – 170 Years of Design’ devotes 18 pages of images to her jewellery and tableware design.
Accolades and praise were a common feature of her life. ‘Vogue’ magazine once described Peretti as “arguably the most successful woman ever to work in the jewellery field” – and for good reason.
As a philanthropist, Peretti supported a wide variety of causes, and also privately undertook the restoration of the historic village of Sant Martí Vell in Catalonia, Spain. It was there that she passed away in March of this year, aged 80.
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