Earrings from the Peridot set, 1967, yellow gold, peridots, diamonds - Ring from the Peridot set, 1975, yellow gold, peridots, diamonds - Bracelet from the Peridot set, 1965, yellow gold, peridots, diamonds
To mark the opening of the boutique, the “Masterpieces from Van Cleef & Arpels Collection” exhibition retraces almost a century of creations through a selection of approximately sixty pieces dating from the 1910s to the 1980s, and taken from the Maison’s heritage collection, which bears witness to a rich past. Two thirds of the pieces exhibited have been recently acquired to enrich this real living treasure. Van Cleef & Arpels is honored to reveal them at a public preview in Moscow.
On the left: Roses bracelet, 1924 Platinum, onyx, rubies, emeralds, diamonds. On the right: Bunch of grapes brooch, Circa 1915, white gold, natural pearls, diamonds
The jewelry creations from the beginning of the 20th century reflect the elaborate and eclectic taste inherited from the Second Empire. The refined combination of pearls and diamonds was in vogue. Nature, which would become one of the Maison’s favorite themes, was already present in these initial creations, as demonstrated by the grape cluster brooch (circa 1915) set with natural pearls, whose arabesques recall the Art Nouveau movement.
The Roaring Twenties saw the Art Deco movement triumph in France, which highlighted skill through a decisive return to refined graphic lines. In 1925, Van Cleef & Arpels took part in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) in Paris. The Maison received the exhibition’s Grand Prize for its famous Roses bracelet composed of 463 brilliant-cut diamonds, 293 rubies and 108 buff-top emeralds in a style that combined naturalism and geometry.
On the left: Cords bracelet, 1949, platinum, yellow gold, diamonds. On the right: Collaret, 1939, Platinum, diamonds, in the former collection of Her Majesty Queen Nazli of Egypt
During the 1930s, the Maison continued to attract royalty from around the world, particularly in Egypt. An example is the spectacular necklace commissioned by Queen Nazli (1939) for the wedding between her daughter Fawzia and the Crown Prince of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
After the war, Paris became a free and joyful city once again. With the blossoming of great couture houses such as Christian Dior, the city became the unequivocal capital of fashion. This couture inspiration, which was characteristic of the 1940s, can also be seen in elements borrowed from the world of passementerie. Made up of braided gold threads, the Corde motif gave rise to particularly daring and inventive creations.
On the left: Necklace from the Peridot set, 1966, yellow gold, peridots, diamonds. On the right: Three leaves clip, 1955, Platinum, yellow gold, Mystery Set rubies, diamonds
Nature flourished in the creations of the 1950s, where it began to adopt asymmetrical and spontaneous aesthetics in celebration of infinitely vibrant and enchanting flora. The many clips created during this decade show evidence of this, at times capturing the light movement of petals set with diamonds, at other times offering an imaginatively stylized expression through meticulously spun yellow gold or the velvety luster of the Mystery Set™. This revolutionary technique, which was patented by the Maison in 1933, removed visible mounts to better showcase the stones, offering an even setting that favored the interplay between light and material.
The 1960s witnessed a new creative momentum that resulted in an explosion of colors and shapes. The blossoming of forms that characterized this period is embodied by Peggy Rockefeller’s exceptional set (1967 and 1975), which was acquired by Van Cleef & Arpels at the prestigious Christie’s auction in June 2018.
On the left: Osiris necklace, 1989, yellow gold, coral, chrysoprase, lapis-lazuli, onyx, diamonds. On the right: Rose de Noël clip, 1970, yellow gold, coral, diamonds
A wave of freedom that was stronger than ever swept through the 1970s. The “hippie-chic” style inspired exuberant compositions bursting with dazzling colors. Worn with long flowery dresses, the ultimate piece of jewelry was the long necklace with its fluid lines and motifs inspired by the decorative repertoire of the East.
The 1980s were synonymous with a return to order and classicism. The Maison continued to create sparkling pieces of jewelry set with sapphires and diamonds, as shown here. This decade, however, marked a surprising return to a key trend from the 1920s: Egyptomania.
Legends of Van Cleef & Arpels