BY MINDY MOZER
At the end of major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl or the PGA FedExCup, the winning team or player receives a sterling silver trophy. Chances are good that Perrotti made it.
When Stephanie Perrotti watches the Super Bowl in February, she’ll be most interested in what happens after the game. That’s because she helped make the championship trophy as a silversmith for the Hollowware Department at Tiffany & Co.
Perrotti ’06 (metalcrafts and jewelry) has worked on the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the PGA FedExCup Trophy, the PGA Northern Trust Open Trophy, the NFL’s AFC and NFC Championship trophies and the coveted Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy.
“When I watch championship games, I make sure to watch the awards ceremony,” says Perrotti. “But sometimes I see champagne or fingerprints on the trophy and I think, ‘Oh my gosh.’ ”
Nearly 30 RIT graduates have worked for Tiffany & Co. over the years, says Leonard Urso, a professor in the School for American Crafts.
Urso says RIT and the company developed a relationship in 1985 after he provided specialized training to Tiffany employees. Since then, the company has hired graduates as product designers, silversmiths and in management positions. (In fact, Perrotti’s boss is Lance Neirby, trades supervisor in the Hollowware Department, who graduated in 2005 with a degree in metalcrafts and jewelry.)
Perrotti, who attended RIT to pursue her love of art, started working for Tiffany & Co. right after graduation. At first she worked on retail and custom-design pieces, such as large punch bowls, vases and serving trays. “Anything really expensive and fancy,” she says.
She moved into the trophy business about two years ago. The design department comes up with the look of the trophy but Perrotti and other silversmiths cut, file, hammer, form, solder and assemble the sterling silver pieces.
Sometimes she’ll make more than one trophy when teams request a replica. She made a full-size replica of last year’s Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy for the Green Bay Packers.
In 2010, Perrotti received the Charles Lewis Tiffany Award for Excellence, which recognizes employees of the company for their work. Urso is not surprised.
“Stephanie at RIT exhibited classic sensibilities and classic skills to make her a prime candidate to be in an organization like Tiffany’s,” he says.
Perrotti, who thought she’d be making jewelry when she started at RIT, says she enjoys working on large items, even when her work gets covered with fingerprints and champagne.
“I love working with my hands and creating things,” she says, “especially when you get to work on these gorgeous pieces.”
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Photo by A. Sue Weisler