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Elsa Peretti

Italian, 1940-2021

In an era of social upheaval, venerable Tiffany & Co. designer Elsa Peretti reimagined diamonds as jewelry that working women bought for themselves rather than receiving it from a suitor.

By the time the Italian-born Peretti arrived in New York City, she’d already studied design in Rome, worked for a Milanese architect and taught Italian, French and skiing in Switzerland. She settled on interior design as her potential career path but then chose an altogether different route: modeling. Peretti modeled in Barcelona, Spain, and on the advice of Wilhelmina Cooper — a former model who’d by then founded Wilhelmina Modeling Agency — moved to Manhattan in 1968. When she relocated, Peretti was inspired to pick up jewelry design.

After modeling for designer Halston, the undisputed fashion king of Studio 54, Peretti became his close friend and collaborator, eventually creating jewelry and teardrop-shaped perfume bottles for him. By way of her association with Halston, Peretti took to the disco scene, flourishing in a social circle that included artist Andy Warhol and fashion designer Giorgio di Sant’Angelo.

It wasn’t long before models on di Sant’Angelo’s runway were donning two-inch sterling-silver vases, complete with a rose stem, suspended on leather thongs around their necks. The accessory was Peretti’s inaugural piece of jewelry — she designed it in 1969 after finding a flower vase at a flea market. It was hardly the only time that Peretti found motifs in nature and in organic forms. In the years that followed, her Bean pendant necklace, Starfish earrings and other sensuous accessories would draw on human emotion as well as the natural world around her. Each evocative and wholly versatile design is universally adored decades later, and each was made for a storied American jewelry house with which Peretti would be associated for nearly 50 years.

It was Halston who introduced Peretti to Tiffany & Co. She had her own boutique at Bloomingdale’s by 1972, and her partnership with the firm, which signed the venturesome and unorthodox designer to an exclusive contract in 1974, would cement her place in the lofty annals of jewelry legend. Peretti’s simple but sophisticated designs — the Teardrop collection, her minimalist Diamonds by the Yard necklace and Open Heart ring, to name a few — elevated sterling silver, previously considered unsuitable for fine jewelry, and created an enthusiastic young audience for Tiffany’s offerings. In 1977, Peretti’s designs earned the jewelry house more than $6 million. (In some years, her work has accounted for 10 percent of the company’s sales.)

In 2012, Peretti signed a 20-year, $47.3 million contract with Tiffany & Co., but she passed away in 2021, at age 80. Today, her designs are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the British Museum.

Find an exquisite collection of Elsa Peretti jewelry today on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$1,424
Styles
Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Pearl Yellow Gold Mesh Necklace With Earrings
By Elsa Peretti
Located in Zurich, Zollstrasse
18k Yellow Gold Pearl Mesh Necklace and matching earrings by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. With 55Pearls from 5mm to 4.5mm. Comes in the original Tifanny & co Box. Length of neckl...
Category

1980s Contemporary Vintage Elsa Peretti

Materials

Pearl, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Tiffany & Co., Elsa Peretti Design Heart Clip-On Earrings
By Elsa Peretti
Located in New York, NY
18KT Yellow Gold measuring 1.0 inches x 1.0 inches, total weight is 14.4 grams. Signed Tiffany & Co - Elsa Peretti, Spain.
Category

Early 2000s Elsa Peretti

Materials

18k Gold

Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Solid 18 Karat Gold 'Beans' Necklace
By Elsa Peretti
Located in Berkeley, CA
This iconic Elsa Peretti necklace is a beautiful halo around your neck. The 'beans' are solid gold and have a nice weight to them. You can wear it alone or layer with your other favo...
Category

2010s Modernist Elsa Peretti

Materials

Gold, 18k Gold

Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Starfish Earrings
By Elsa Peretti
Located in New York, NY
The earrings are finely crafted in 18k yellow gold and weighing approximately total of 3.9 DWT. Signed Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti.
Category

1980s Vintage Elsa Peretti

Materials

18k Gold

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Elsa Peretti Sellers

Eric Originals and Antiques LTD
5.0
Klassik Design
4.8
Select Antique Jewelry Inc
5.0
Vintage Diamond Christophe Walser
5.0

Elsa Peretti jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs

Find Elsa Peretti jewelry & watches available on 1stDibs. Each of these unique pieces has been designed with extraordinary care, often using 18k gold. This collection contains 4 pieces as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 1980s. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Eytan Brandes, UnoAErre and Coach House. Prices for Elsa Peretti watches and jewelry can vary depending upon gemstone, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $1,850 and tops out at $9,480, while pieces like these can sell for $2,200 on average.

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