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Teardrop Collection
Teardrop Collection
Iconic Designs

Teardrop Collection

From Paloma Picasso to Jean Schlumberger, esteemed American jewelry house Tiffany & Co. has collaborated with numerous artists and fellow designers over the course of its long history. One such designer is Italian former model Elsa Peretti (1940–2021), whose signature bulbous and sculptural Teardrop collection, with its refreshingly versatile aesthetic, changed the way women wore jewelry when it debuted in the 1970s.

The Florence-born Peretti trained as an interior designer in her native Italy and then worked at an architecture practice there. Her fashion career began in modeling when she moved to Barcelona, Spain, in the 1960s. From there, she journeyed to New York City in 1968, where she met and eventually collaborated with Halston, a fashion designer and Studio 54 regular who asked Peretti to design a few pieces for his fashion shows. Her preference was to work with silver, which, at the time, was considered too “common” a material and unusual for fine jewelry. That mattered little — by 1972, Peretti had her own boutique at Bloomingdale’s and a Coty award.

In 1974, Halston reportedly introduced Peretti to Tiffany & Co. chairman Walter Hoving, who was enamored with the designer’s modern yet simple pieces. Peretti signed a contract to produce sterling-silver jewelry for the brand, and just three years later, in 1977, Tiffany sold more than $6 million worth of the designer’s jewelry, and her work was celebrated in a Newsweek cover story. 

Since the launch of the sensual and unmistakably shaped line of Teardrop earrings, Teardrop necklaces, Teardrop rings and more, Tiffany has introduced variations of the original solid, unadorned metal pieces including an integration of gemstones as well as new materials, such as rose gold. Peretti’s Teardrop jewelry continues to grow in popularity today.