object study: elsa peretti bone cuff for tiffany
To me, a watch is enough jewellery, because I prefer to only wear things with a practical function, but even I'm occasionally moved by a piece of jewellery. The bone cuff designed by Elsa Peretti (who designed lots of wonderful things) for Tiffany & Co is one of them. It's my earliest memory of a jewellery crush in fact.
The advertisement had a lot to do with it, I suspect. It's a very arresting image; a hint of the macabre but to me it felt mostly matter-of-fact, but warm, organic, naturalistic - it's a human bone, there's nothing to be afraid of, is there?
The red ladybugs provide a pop of colour and also signifies the natural forces of decay, but the shining cuff is immune, indestructible, immortal. It looks powerful, but it also looks soft because of the cuff's flowing lines. It's a thing of beauty, and eternity, and that's a very powerful image.
Of course, my thoughts at age 10 (I don't remember when I saw this, but I was in primary school I believe) weren't so developed, but even though I have never seriously entertained thoughts of buying this cuff, this image is burned in my memory. I'd love to know more about the history of this design - I'm sure a good book on Tiffany jewellery or Elsa Peretti would enlighten me - but I also want to know who conceptualised this ad, which harmonised so beautifully with the object itself.
Maybe one day I'll be galvanised into buying a piece of jewellery, and when I do, I know just the thing.
Picture from here