Elsa Peretti Dies at 80

Taking a look back at her career of coveted collaborations and designs

Elsa Peretti passed way last night at age 80. Her family office in Zurich, Switzerland, and the Nando and Elsa Peretti foundation shared in a statement that the designer died in her sleep of natural causes.

Known worldwide for her jewelry design, and former modeling career, the Italian-native created some of Tiffany & Co’s most iconic and timeless pieces. Peretti first stepped into the fashion world in the early sixties by way of modeling in Spain, crossing the Atlantic to Manhattan later that decade where she joined the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency.

In the early seventies she became somewhat of a muse for fashion designer and best friend Halston, nicknamed Halstonettes alongside the likes of Anjelica Huston and Pat Cleveland.

Nonetheless, throughout her modeling, she was designing jewelry for fashion designers including Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo in 1969, and a couples years later became a regular collaborator for Halston. In 1971 she was praised for her artistry with a Coty Award. The following year brought even more recognition when the renowned Bloomingdale’s opened an in-store boutique dedicated her collection and in 1972 Peretti signed on with Tiffany. It wasn’t long before her minimal designs became synonymous with the iconic jewelers mélange.

Her versatile and tactile designs, often arriving in silver, transcended time, past and present. From the shapely Bean, Open Heart, and Bottle pendants, to her Bone Cuffs and Diamonds by the Yard chains, Peretti’s creations remain some of the New York jeweler’s most favored delectables.

Nothing like the fine jewelry of the day, Peretti’s powerful aesthetics coupled with femininity and simplicity placed her ahead of her time. She was a woman who revolutionized the world of jewelry.

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