Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm died Saturday at the age of 41. Hamm was a beloved socialite and artist with reaches in several industries such as fashion and film. Authorities have not revealed her cause of death yet, however, her family expects that it is connected to her history with Lyme Disease.
Hamm’s father, Barry Kieselstein Cord, a famous jewelry designer, said that “Lyme never leaves, it appears in one form or another, it is an insidious and miserable disease.” He explained that “despite various treatments over the years, it continued to manifest itself in countless ways. Regardless, Elisabeth fought it, and continued on in her many creative endeavors.”
He said that “our entire extended family is crushed by the loss of our daughter who was one of the most caring, brightest and talented personalities ever to be a proud New Yorker. The loss to us, and to her close friends, and those who knew Elisabeth on a world stage, is quite palpable.”
The Hamptons socialite’s shocking death has rocked her Southampton community. Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm was only 41 years old when she passed away. She was married but had no kids. Her father said that the family is planning to construct a memorial park in her honor, which will be available for other grieving parents who lost their children.
According to her IMDb page, Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm was “born in the Deep South of North America to artist parents, Barry and CeCe.” She reportedly had no siblings and was raised in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico before heading to school in New York City. She then attended Georgetown University where she studied studio arts and creative writing.
Hamm then “continued her international education in England at Oxford University,” her IMDb page read. After college, she “dabbled in high fashion editorial and runway modeling in U.S. and Italian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Donna Karan for tuition for art classes abroad.”
Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm then came back to New York City where she apprenticed in design and illustration for her family’s design firm. She also re-entered the world of charity, her IMDb profile said. Hamm was also present in the entertainment industry, having appeared alongside Annette Arnold in Woody Allen’s Oscar-nominated 1997 movie, Deconstructing Harry.
According to Hamm, her “first love [was] ‘literary non-fiction,’ and ‘portraiture.’” She also claimed that her “religion is kindness.”
Her father said Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm “was the leading inspiration” for the company Kieselstein-Cord “and several other fashions – and art-related firms in NY and Paris.” Her father’s business, Kieselstein-Cord is a fashion and jewelry brand that specializes in luxury pieces such as silver jewelry, belt buckles, bronze statuary, leather goods, and other accessories.
Its founder, Barry Kieselstein-Cord, has worked with big names such as Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. Some of his pieces have been worn and collected by high-profile celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Sir Elton John, Usher, among others. Some of his pieces are also on display at The Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.
Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm was an It Girl, according to The Observer. She stepped into the spotlight around 2001 where she garnered a reputation at movie premieres, fashion events, and high-profile Hamptons parties. She was deemed the “Manhattan Minx” in a profile piece published by The Observer.
Back in 2001, publicist Jessica Meisels likened Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm to Julia Roberts, claiming “she has a really strong image right now. She’s not too trendy.” Meisels recalled a party in the early 2000s where there “we tons of models.” She explained that “when [Hamm] walked in, it was like Julia Roberts had arrived.”
Cristina Greeven, an editor at Manhattan File magazine at the time, said that “it doesn’t hurt that [Hamm’s} father’s Barry Kieselstein-Cord and her mother’s very social and well-liked, so she kind of already had the in. And she’s got the looks, to boot.”