Elsa Peretti

International “Leonardo da Vinci” Lifetime Achievement Award

Elsa Peretti is an Italian jewellery designer and a philanthropist.

She was born in Florence, Italy, on May 1, 1940. Her father Nando Peretti founded Anonima Petroli Italiana (API). Elsa Peretti was educated in Rome and Switzerland, where she worked as a ski instructor in Gstaad before moving to Milan (Italy) in 1963 and start working with the architect Dado Torrigiani. In 1964, Peretti became a model, working for Salvador Dalí in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1968 she moved to New York City on the advice of Wilhelmina Modeling Agency, where she worked as a fashion model for Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, and begins creating jewellery pieces. In 1971 she received the Coty Award in Jewellery design. In 1972 Bloomingdale’s, one of New York’s landmark shopping stores, opened a dedicated Peretti boutique. In 1974, Peretti signed a contract with Tiffany & Co.

Her first collection has been a worldwide success. Silver is the metal she loves most, and she brings it to the high level of jewellery. “Diamonds by the Yard”, “Open Heart” and “Bone Cuff”  are still expression of a modern and contemporary design. Her “Bottle” and the “Mesh” are milestones in the history of the jewellery design of the 20th century. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary with Tiffany, FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) created “The Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewelry Design” as recognition of her amazing career, and conferred her the Fine Arts PhD.

Elsa Peretti’s works are included in the permanent collections of prestigious museums, such as the Bristish Museum in London and the MET of New York. In 2000, she created a charity in honour of her father, called the “Nando e Elsa Peretti Foundation”, which has given more than 50 million euros to 1000 projects world-wide over the last 20 years.

The Foundation focuses on combating poverty, promotion of human and civil rights, support to education and health, medical research, environment and wildlife conservation, and it also promotes culture and the arts. The Foundation is based in Rome and Barcelona.