Born in Italy and educated in Rome and Switzerland, Elsa Peretti initially made her living teaching French and eventually returned to Rome to pursue a degree in interior design. By 1969 she had established herself as a fashion model in New York and Barcelona, and was also beginning to design her own jewelry.
Elsa Peretti joined Tiffani & co. in 1974, and by the early 1980s, her collections for Tiffany had expanded to include china, crystal and silver designs for the home. Like her jewelry, these new designs were praised for their fluid shape and serene, undulating surfaces.
In 1999 Elsa Peretti celebrated her 25th anniversary with Tiffany & Co. In recognition of her remarkable career, Tiffany established the Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the first endowed professorship in the history of FIT. In 2001 the designer was presented with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from FIT. In further tribute, the Elsa Peretti jewelry case in Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship store was designated a Tiffany landmark.