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“Van Cleef & Arpels, Wonders and Enchantments” at the Place Vendôme boutique, Paris
1 September 2021
From September 3 to November 30, 2021, the Maison’s boutique at 20, place Vendôme presents the "Van Cleef & Arpels, Wonders and Enchantments" exhibition in the Heritage Gallery.
Composed of creations from the Maison’s patrimony collection – with some making their debut appearance –, this exhibition illustrates Van Cleef & Arpels’ penchant for a world of wonder, giving life to a fantastic menagerie and an enchanted nature. From the gracious appearance of the fairy figure in 1941 up to the Rocher aux merveilles (Rock of Wonders marvels) unveiled in 2020 during the “Gems” exhibition at the French National Museum of Natural History, the Maison has never ceased to develop an imagery of the marvelous, honoring the primary function of High Jewelry: to create surprise and admiration.
Creating a true sense of wonder, each piece captures the imagination, like these two 1948 Unicorn clips, which seemingly come to life from the medieval tapestry “The Lady and the Unicorn.” Originating from Arpels family trips, chimeras, griffins, and dragons tell the tale of a taste for distant lands. There, a 1969 Dragon clip in yellow, white, and rose gold features a diamond crest. Next to it, another combines gold scales with ones made of wood, a supposedly lucky material, and a Maison favorite at the beginning of the 20th century. Part of a private collection, the 2011 Souffle des nuages necklace magnifies the dragon’s evocative power with its body winding through 112.44 carats of raw emerald crystals in a pearl-filled sky.
There is also a wide breadth of symbolism and wonder to be found in the sea, with the underwater world proving to be a true source of inspiration for High Jewelry collections, especially in the 2000s. The exhibition displays four pieces from the 2007 L’Atlantide High Jewelry collection that have joined the Van Cleef & Arpels patrimony collection, including Oceanid, half nymph, half ballerina, dancing on waves cloaked in diamonds.
While the fantastic emulates enchanted nature, it also celebrates an intimate dialogue between minerals and the hand of man, as is the case with the 1964 Indian inspired necklace. Displayed for the first time, the jewelry piece allows polished emeralds that top ruby cabochons to shine. Nestled in the display cabinets, the 1971-1972 Oiseau clip and its Walska pendant, in turn, elicit their own flight of fancy with the fires of this fascinating briolette-cut yellow diamond totaling 96.62 carats.
Van Cleef & Arpels, Wonders and Enchantment exhibition and the Maison’s creations invite visitors to imagine their own magic.