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    The Zip necklace

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    Invented in late 19th century America as a fastening for boots, the humble zipper seems far removed from the realm of sophistication. Yet despite its humble origins, it has inspired one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most iconic pieces. The Zip necklace blends humor and refinement by re-appropriating an everyday object into a radically different context.

    This astonishing feat in jewelry-making can be credited to the Duchess of Windsor. Circa 1938, she suggested to Renée Puissant - the Maison’s artistic director and daughter of Alfred Van Cleef - that she should create a piece based on the zip fastener. Crafted in round and baguette-cut diamonds mounted in platinum, the necklace was not produced until 1950. An outstanding technical achievement, it soon achieved iconic status.

    The Duchess of Windsor was at the origin of the Zip necklace.

    First gouache drawing of the Zip necklace for the Duchess of Windsor, circa 1938, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Archives  - Van Cleef & Arpels
    First gouache drawing of the Zip necklace for the Duchess of Windsor, circa 1938, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Archives

    The Zip necklace was revisited in various forms throughout the 50’s and is still a distinctive element in Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections today.

    True icon of the Maison, the Zip Couture necklace, with a ribbon of rubies, emeralds and sapphires, is the bridge with the world of Couture that inspires Van Cleef & Arpels in many of its creations. Precious metals and stones are subtly formed and positioned like fabrics in the hands of a dressmaker, demonstrating the virtuosity of the Mains d'Or™ in our workshops Place Vendôme.

     

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