“The day Elsa Peretti became a part of Tiffany & Co. was the day we entered a new era in our history of design innovation.” 

—Michael J. Kowalski, former chairman and CEO, Tiffany & Co. 

Born in Italy and educated in Rome and Switzerland, she later returned to Rome to pursue a degree in interior design. By 1969, she established herself as a fashion model in New York and Barcelona and was also beginning to design her own jewelry. American fashion designer Giorgio di Sant’Angelo used a few of her pieces in a fashion show, which were an instant success. It was during this time that she met the legendary designer Halston, who became her longtime friend and frequent collaborator. 

As a successful jewelry designer with a decade of coveted collections—such as Bottle, Open Heart, Bean design and, of course, her Bone cuffs—it wasn’t until the early 1980s that her collections for Tiffany expanded to include china, crystal and silver designs for the home. Like her jewelry, these new designs were praised for their fluid shape and tactile quality. They represent love for life, the warmth of a generous host and the idea that beauty and utility should always be as one. 

 

 

“Touch is important: I get lots of my inspiration from tactile things.”

In recognition of her remarkable career, Tiffany established the Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the first endowed professorship in the history of FIT. In 2001 the designer was given an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from FIT.

 

She also received the 1971 Coty Award for Jewelry and the Rhode Island School of Design President’s Fellow Award in 1981. In 1996, the Council of Fashion Designers of America named her Accessory Designer of the Year. Elsa Peretti’s designs are in the permanent collections of the British Museum in London, England; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

 

Few designs maintain their style and beauty for decades but Peretti’s are as modern today as ever.