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    Legends of Van Cleef & Arpels


    George Balanchine: dancing Jewels

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    A tribute to previous stones, the ballet Jewels was created thanks to the chance encounter of two great men, George Balanchine and Claude Arpels.

    Claude Arpels, the nephew of Estelle Arpels, had been living in New York since 1939 when he met the famous choreographer and co-founder of the New York City Ballet through a mutual friend, the violinist Nathan Milstein. Claude Arpels went on to invite Balanchine to the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique on Fifth Avenue, to discover the Maison’s most beautiful creations.

    From their shared passion for stones was born an artistic relationship that resulted in Balanchine’s new ballet and its sumptuous costumes…

    Pierre Arpels, ballerina Suzanne Farrell and choreographer George Balanchine, circa 1976  - Van Cleef & Arpels
    Pierre Arpels, ballerina Suzanne Farrell and choreographer George Balanchine, circa 1976

    Emeralds were for Fauré, rubies for Stravinsky, and diamonds for Tchaikovsky.

    Thus, April 1967 in New York marked the premiere of Jewels, a three-part non-narrative ballet using the names and colors of three precious stones. Each part is dedicated to a composer: Gabriel Fauré for the first, Emeralds, Igor Stravinsky for the second, Rubies and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for the third, Diamonds.

    In 2007, Van Cleef & Arpels collaborated with the London Royal Ballet to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Jewels ballet by creating its Ballet Précieux High Jewelry collection around four themes: ballet, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. The collection constitutes a vibrant homage to the sublime art of dance, with each piece recreating its own enchanting and echanted realm.

    If you are interested in this theme, you may also like :The Ballerina and Fairy clips of the 1940s

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