Posted on November 19 2017
CAPTIONS: Vintage Elsa Peretti sterling silver jewelry for Tiffany & Co.
A designer working across disciplines and decades, Elsa Peretti is most notoriously known as the creative powerhouse behind some of Tiffany & Co.'s most successful jewelry collections. Initially designing in collaboration with the likes of Halston and Giorgio di Sant' Angelo, it wasn't until 1974 that Elsa landed her life-changing contract with Tiffany & Co.
Sensitive and strong-willed, Elsa escaped her conservative Italian family and moved to New York City to pursue a modeling career in 1968. Landing on the scene at the height of the cultural revolution, she quickly became ensconced in the fast paced and glittering world of Studio 54. Disenchanted by the social mores of a party lifestyle, Elsa longed to build upon her life in New York and did so though the art of jewelry making.
Her eponymous jewelry collections are most often emphasized by organic, sculptural shapes favoring solid sterling silver. A student of the natural world, Elsa Peretti takes inspiration from life's more sensual side. At the root of many of her designs, one can discover interpretations of familiar objects like bones, ocean life, fruit, beans, the human body and more - each with a symbolic meaning.
Elsa Peretti continues to design jewelry for Tiffany & Co. from the comfort of the coastal Italian village she now calls home. While some of the vintage pieces offered in this collection are currently in production, the clear majority are rare and unavailable elsewhere due to their retired status.
STONE & STRAND INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA LA ROCHE
New York-based Olivia La Roche co-owns an online vintage shop and specializes in curation. Her work is characterized by reinterpretations of vintage goods to satisfy the modern eye. Don't miss out on the definitive Stone & Strand collaboration with Olivia and her timeless edit of vintage Elsa Peretti sterling silver jewelry for Tiffany & Co.
Tell us about this project! What is your relationship to Elsa Peretti and her work?
When given the opportunity to curate a vintage silver collection, there was absolutely no question in my mind; it had to be Elsa for Tiffany & Co. There were countless pieces I had seen in amazing editorials and vintage adverts from the late seventies and early eighties, and I always wanted to spend time hunting them down. It was a dream project for me.
As for the origins of my Elsa Petretti obsession, about ten years ago, I came across an article featuring Elsa Peretti, her home, and her unconventional life story. I remember pouring over the pages and soaking in every detail. I immediately idolized Elsa, the way she arranged objects in her home, her perspective on the 1970's youth culture in NYC, and most of all - her captivating jewelry design. She remains one of my main inspirations to this day. Elsa Peretti did what so may creatives long to do; she parlayed her lifestyle and personal expression into magnificent success.
What do you find exciting about vintage jewelry?
I love the heirloom quality. You may not know the backstory of a vintage piece, but you always know it has one. Also, it's one of the most affordable ways to have a truly one-of-a-kind collection.
Tell us about your buying process.
Vintage shopping is very intuitive and sensory. I always start with materials. Sometimes you only glimpse a flash amidst a pile of junk, and you have to be able to get a quick read on it. That's why it's important to build a visual repertoire. I can immediately recognize quality metal from the way it glows or feels - even the way it tarnishes. Vintage buying is like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Describe your jewelry style.
It usually goes in waves; I'll get very deep into a particular style or period, and create my look based on that - adding and subtracting for day or night. Then a new look will spark my interest, and I'll start blending the two and eventually move away from the previous style and fully adopt the new. This cycle repeats itself endlessly. Most recently I fell in love with large sculptural silver pieces and starting mixing those into my more minimalist look. I used to wear a lot of gold, but I am almost 100% silver now. I'm sure I'll return to gold, but it's always good to explore.
What are your tips for working statement jewelry into a daily look?
I think it's important to stay true to your personal style even when exploring new avenues. Your innate taste won't steer you wrong. So, if you find yourself wearing a lot of small pieces, try a larger one that still contains elements of what you already love - that way you can mix the two and still create a cohesive look. Also, a great thing about statement jewelry is the most obvious and often forgotten, you can get away with wearing one or two pieces and still make a statement!
If you had to pick a favorite piece from this collection...
Ah! They are all amazing! But, I guess if I had to pick, I would say the doughnut bangle. I didn't expect to love it as much as I do - which is always fun. It feels amazing to the touch, and the simplicity in design makes such an impact because it is oversized. It's even stamped "1981" which is one of the first years of release for the style. A super unique piece!