In these days of the More-is-More ideology, it's nice to see people wearing jewelry as simple as Elsa Peretti's designs for the 170-year-old Tiffany & Co. You might not recognize her name, but you'll recognize Peretti's necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings right away: the hollow heart (pictured here), the teardrop, the starfish, the lima bean. Her fluid designs seem to resemble liquid drops of mercury—and, admittedly, I once didfind her Tiffany line incredibly classy and, well, incredibly original.
But then again, I was 17.
Oh, it's not that I harbor any resentment toward, or hatred for, Peretti's simple aesthetic. Not at all. But when you're barraged by hordes of women from 13 to 65 with the same sterling-silver necklace dangling from their necks, it's tough to maintain that belief.
The all-too-popular hollow-heart necklace first started getting attention from the younger crowd around 2002. And like many other business-savvy jewelers, Tiffany & Co. offers many of its designs in sterling silver—rendering it much more affordable than that other sparkly stuff that sits under the fancy countertops of the otherroom at its South Coast Plaza location. Fashion houses Marc Jacobs (Marc by Marc Jacobs), Chloé (See by Chloé) and Prada (Miu Miu) are just a few of many who have cashed in on such diffusion tactics. The Melrose Marc by Marc Jacobs store location even has smaller, cute novelty items—heart-shaped compact mirrors, vinyl bags, tote bags (which smartassly read, "Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs by Marc Jacobs"), key fobs, pencil sharpeners, pens, T-shirts, wallets, band-aids and even condoms—for anywhere from $1 to $35. If all (most) people are after is the name and maybe some recognition from their peers, why not give it to them? Besides, with more affordable clothing, shoes and accessories aimed at the younger generations, you're training today's up-and-coming Miu Miu wearers to grow into tomorrow's Prada shoppers. Smart! Getting 'em ready to drop $2,000-plus on coats and purses later by making them want to drop $600 on coats and purses now.
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Tiffany & Co.'s most popular design, Elsa Peretti's "Open Heart" pendant, is offered in four sizes—mini, small, medium and large—in platinum, 18k gold and sterling silver. The chain even varies from a simple sterling silver or black string to an 18k gold multiple mesh. Such varying combinations mean owning an Elsa Peretti necklace can cost you as little as $150—or as much as $1,950. There's now even a diamond-encrusted option that'll set you back $2,600.
Another design by the renowned jewelry company that's been popular with the terry-cloth-running-suit crowd is the chunky "Return to Tiffany" line (or what I like to call the dog-collar line), particularly the bracelets and chokers available for up to $275 in sterling silver.
Are you reading this, girl/boyfriends, parents and grandparents?
You can get her that sterling silver or Marc by Marc tote now—but if it works like these designers are hoping it works, prepare for her to ask for much more in the not-so-distant future.