Famed Tiffany & Co jewellery designer Elsa Peretti died March 18 at her home in the Spanish village of San Martí Vell. She was 80.
The Italian jewellery designer, who was a model in New York and Barcelona in the 1960s and ’70s before joining Tiffany in 1974, passed away from natural causes, according to an announcement from her family office in Zurich and by the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation.
Her legacy not only comprises a collection of organic, timeless jewellery pieces that have inspired generations for over 50 years, she was also known as a dedicated humanitarian and environmentalist.
“A true citizen of the world, her absence will be strongly felt within all the different circles where she played such an active and creative role,” the statement read.
According to Tiffany & Co, Peretti was not only a designer but a way of life.
“A masterful artisan, Elsa was responsible for a revolution in the world of jewellery design,” the statement read. “Elsa’s relationship with style and the natural world was profoundly personal and strongly reflected in her creations.”
Tiffany added that Peretti had always been inspired by nature and lived her life dedicated to giving back to the world from which she drew so much inspiration.
“She believed that taking care of and protecting our planet is a duty of all of humanity. She will be deeply missed by all of us at Tiffany & Co.”
Peretti, who was the president and founder of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, dedicated to the memory of her father, was committed to supporting the environment, social welfare, human rights, as well as the preservation of arts and culture.
According to her family, Peretti was not only a world-famous designer, she was also a woman of extraordinary generosity, a philanthropist, and a free, strong and courageous visionary.
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.
In recognition of her remarkable work, Tiffany established the Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewellery Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the first endowed professorship in the history of FIT.
Among other honours, the designer was given an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from FIT in 2001. She also received the 1971 Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for Jewellery 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