June Jewel of the Month

With all the buzz of the new Tiffany flagship store which recently opened in New York, Hancocks London is showcasing a vintage necklace by the legendary designer Elsa Peretti whose creative eye dreamed up some of the brand’s most iconic pieces as its Jewel of the Month for June.

Like many of Peretti’s pieces, including the Bone cuff, this iconic necklace – which was designed in 1979 – was inspired by the natural world and specifically the scorpions found near her home in Catalonia, Spain. Made of 18ct gold and weighing 123 grams, the elongated front legs and pincers of the scorpion wrap around the neck of the wearer comfortably given Peretti designed them in articulated segments for comfort and fit. The scorpion’s body and tail are also composed of multiple articulated pieces and form a long pendant drop and the end of its tail is curved upwards and outwards, so it sits proud of the body, putting emphasis on that dangerous ‘sting in the tail’.

The necklace opens to one side of the torque via a concealed hook and eye clasp while the scorpion’s body and tail can be detached to allow the torque to be worn alone. The design is typical of her work, she was endlessly inspired by the natural world and obsessed with creating pared back, tactile pieces. VOGUE magazine described her jewellery as “carved, pure— irresistibly touchable—it has been called jewellery as sculpture, sculpture as jewellery, and the most sensuous jewellery in the world.”

Peretti moved to New York in 1968 to work as a fashion model and it was through her work and then friendship with the designer Halston that she began to create pieces of jewellery to be worn with and to compliment his collections. She met the CEO of Tiffany & Co. in 1974 and he signed her up to design jewellery for them that same year. It was a partnership that would last as long as she lived and one that she once described as being like a happy marriage. Guy Burton, Managing Director, Hancocks London, commented: “It is testament to Elsa Peretti’s creativity and artistic eye that she could take a creature like a scorpion and transform it into a desirable piece of wearable art.

“We are particularly excited to have one of the original and earliest designs available for sale as they are incredibly hard to track down. Whoever is the new owner, the one thing for sure is that wearing this incredible piece will add a playful sting to their sense of style!” A sterling silver version of this necklace forms part of the jewellery collection of the British Museum, donated by Tiffany & Co. in 2007 to celebrate their 30-year anniversary with Elsa Peretti.

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