Van Cleef and Arpels is a promise of authenticity and timelessness. With more than 100 brilliant years in the designer jewelry business, the brand today stands among the titans of the international jewelry market, crafting exquisite and unique designs not only for royalty and celebrities, but for the common connoisseur as well. Van Cleef and Arpels signifies courage in pursuit of opportunity, beginning in 1896 with the marriage of the daughter of a precious stones dealer, Estelle Arpels, and the son of a diamond broker, Alfred Van Cleef, and this brand has today established itself more firmly than any other in the luxury jewelry business, becoming a glowing example of successful entrepreneurship and creativity.
A Dazzling History of Finesse and Trust
Visiting the Hotel Ritz, if you ever gaze out of its windows across the street, you would see the very first boutique that was opened by Van Cleef and Arpels. Even though they now have stores all across the world, it is this first boutique, located at 22 Place Vendôme – the heart of fashion and affluence in Paris, and indeed the world – that has become a monument to wonderful and enchanting craftsmanship.
A testament to their reliability and excellence is the fact that in 1956, Van Cleef and Arpels was appointed the official supplier to the principality of Monaco, after Princess Grace purchased several pieces at their Monaco branch. With numerous royal names as well as fashion icons attesting to their intricacy and care in crafting exceptional designs, Van Cleef is indubitably the premium standard when it comes to luxury designer jewelry.
Exceptional Techniques to Brilliant Designs: A Glimpse at the Craft
Two things that humans love the most in the world are preserving their history, their proof of having lived, and the desire to possess beauty. Understanding of these crucial aspects of human nature, coupled with intricate craftsmanship and evergreen nature of their pieces, form the foundation stones of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry. The innovative techniques and fascinating designs, such as the ‘mystery setting’ and the ‘Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra’ collection, are made timeless by the fact that several of them are inspired by the myths and cultures of the world. Their fabulous gemstones embellish the designer jewelry so naturally that each one seems expertly cut as if for that very position.
Mystery-Set Ruby and Diamond Bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. Source: Sotheby’s
Navette Mystery Set pin with diamonds, emeralds, chrysoprase. Source: Van Cleef & Arpels
A Timepiece unlike Any Other
First launched in 1935, the Cadenas watch – that gets its name from the padlock-like design of the central piece and the snake-like coiling bracelet – stands as one of the most acclaimed and elegant designs ever produced by Van Cleef. Its timelessness, poetic in functionality as well as essence, is evidenced by its enduring popularity, with individuals preferring its classical look and aesthetic looseness on the wrist, complimented by the uniquely angled position of the timepiece itself.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas Pavée Saphirs Roses, rose gold set with diamonds and pink sapphires. Source: The Jewellery Editor
Serti Mysterieux – A Feat in Jewelry Crafting
Gazing at any of the Van Cleef pieces created through the Mystery Technique, you would be intrigued to see the gems as if floating into shape. This technique, patented in 1933, requires over 300 hours of tireless striving, and still remains one of the highlights of any collection released by Van Cleef and Arpels. The fascinating appearance and absence of any visible prongs or binding material for gems makes it an absolutely magical technique, one that is used sparingly in some of the best Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry collections, owing to the incredible difficulty and care required.
A Landmark in Transformable Designer Jewelry
What is wonderful about transformable jewelry, but equally difficult when crafting, is the fact that it must look absolutely gorgeous in all of its transformable forms. Van Cleef and Arpels, understanding the Herculean task, crafted the ornate Zip Necklace that could be zipped into a captivating bracelet. The exciting feature of this design, that makes it different from all the rest, is that once worn in either of its forms, it does not seem like a transformable piece fusing two designs in one; appearing unique in either forms, as a necklace or a bracelet, it seems fit to adorn Shakespeare’s Cleopatra herself.
Zip transformed as a bracelet. Source: Van Cleef
The Duchess of Windsor is said to have suggested the Zip design to Van Cleef. Source: NY Times & Sotheby’s Library
The Van Cleef Ballerina Collection – A Fusion of Dance and Luxury
The ballerina collection of Van Cleef mixes two of the most beautiful feats of human existence: dancing and exquisite designer jewelry. With brooches and badges that are culturally wonderful, the pieces are ever-enticing, drawing the viewer in with their intricately placed gems and the smooth positioning of the ballerina figure itself. Inspired by numerous talented dancers across history, the collection is a paragon of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry, expressing their extraordinary innovations.
Van Cleef La Camargo brooch 1942, inspired by Nicollas Lancret painting. Source: The Adventurine
Faith and Fortune Combined: the Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra Collection
The four-leaved clover symbolizes faith, hope, love and luck: qualities that are spiritually expressed by the groundbreaking Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra collection. Based on the clover design, the designer jewelry is one of the most graceful and outstanding among any of their trademark pieces. Breaking free from the ultra-glamorous statement pieces worn usually for evening events, the Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra pieces can be worn at any time of the day, and signify their unparalleled excellence.
VCA Alhambra White MOP set, Source: Pinterest
A Heritage of Grace and Novelty
Gazing at the breathtaking jewelry and gemstones, browsing through the dazzling pieces, the heart cannot help but hover over multiple choices, loving each one and desiring to be beautified by them. With more than a hundred resplendent years of crafting stunning designer jewelry, Van Cleef has never faltered, becoming a promise of quality and innovation. Containing all its celebrated history, possessing Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry is an experience in itself, with its splendor and beauty only increasing with time, morphing into something phenomenal as the ages pass. What could be more worth the expense than an assurance of class and distinctiveness, a richness of culture and antiquity, a promise of permanence and perfection.
Van Cleef and Arpels Jewelry
Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra