Jun 20, 2011


Open heart pendant
(designed 1974)

©Elsa Peretti® Tiffany&Co.

The open heart pendant is made in silver and gold, in three sizes. It can also be worn with a gold or silver chain instead of the silk cord (see 'Bejewelled by Tiffany', exhibition catalogue, C. Phillips ed., London 2006, no. 172). It has become Peretti's most popular item, for which she has also designed matching earrings and ring. It is this piece, along with her silver bean, also made in different sizes, that enabled her to revolutionise the popularity of silver jewellery. 
In 1990, Elsa Peretti explained the genesis of the heart pendant: 'I really think that the idea for the best-selling item of my collection sprang from a void in a Moore sculpture, a big one. No one else saw a heart there. Just me. The shape was there, in metal. What I couldn't work out was how to hang it from the chain. Mr. Kalich, then head of Tiffany jewellery, suggested with his strong German accent: "Why dont we put it through". I was so overjoyed that I gave my first model to his fiancée.' The heart was featured on the cover of 'Newsweek' April 1977, with a cover story entitled 'Jewelry's New Dazzle', which reported that 'What Peretti had was a whole new idea of what jewelry should be: more design than decoration.......real jewelry has become accessible and affordable for every shopgirl.' (quoted in J. Loring, 'Tiffany Jewels', New York 1999, p. 215).