Elsa Peretti became known for her groundbreaking designs for the jewelry company Tiffany.
Now she died on March 19, 2021 at the age of 80 in a village near Barcelona, as her family announced in Zurich.
In addition to her design work, her legacy includes a foundation dedicated to humanitarian aid as well as the environment and nature conservation.
Elsa Peretti was born in Florence.
She worked as a model and ski instructor after school, but then got a degree in interior design in Rome.
At the end of the 1960s she was a successful model in New York, so she was part of the “Studio 54” scene.
At the same time, Peretti began designing her own jewelry.
Her design career began with a small silver bottle as a necklace.
The inspiration for this came to her in Portofino, where women used to wear fragile gardenia flowers as a fashion accessory: the small silver vase necklace made the flowers last longer.
This should become a characteristic of her designs, which she always tried to make as practical as it was beautiful.
Elsa Peretti 1970 with Halston
Source: AP / Marty Lederhandler
The American fashion designer Giorgio di Sant'Angelo used some of her pieces in a fashion show - a great success.
In New York, Peretti became a star.
During this time she met the legendary US fashion designer and seventies icon Halston, with whom she had a lifelong friendship and with whom she worked frequently.
Eventually, the US jeweler Tiffany became aware of the designer and signed her in 1974 for an exclusive collaboration that would run through her entire career.
She often got her inspiration from everyday objects: beans, bones, apples could be transformed into cufflinks, bracelets, vases or lighters, scorpions and snakes became necklaces and rings, often in silver as one of their preferred materials.
Peretti himself said: "There is no new design, because good lines and shapes are timeless".
“Bone Cuffs” by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany
Source: Tiffany / T | Tiffany & Co. Studio
Elsa Peretti's designs can be found in numerous museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
In addition to her award-winning work as a designer, she was also engaged in philanthropy: she supported cultural, scientific and educational initiatives and was committed to the defense of human rights.
In 2000 she founded a charity in honor of her father, which was renamed the “Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation” in 2015 and which works to promote human and civil rights.
Elsa Peretti preferred to spend her last years in the Catalonian village of Sant Martí Vell, which she had largely restored on her own.
Elsa Peretti at a Tiffany party in 2006
Source: WireImage / Nick Harvey