The “Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems” exhibition offers a unique journey through the history of jewelry and gemstones. From April 23rd to August 14th 2016, more than 400 creations and 200 minerals will be on display at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.
This exhibition is distinctive for the rich content it offers (text, video, audio, etc.), promoting comprehension and discovery. To this end, numerous educational tools are employed: films, interactive activities and games enrich the experience, immersing visitors in the fascinating world of stones and jewels.
One of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most striking special orders is a flying bird carrying a briolette-cut yellow diamond of 96.62 carats. In the 1930s, this unique gem belonged to the opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska, who wore it as a pendant. She had asked the Maison to combine this exceptional stone with a bird of yellow gold, emeralds, and sapphires in celebration of the birth of her son in 1972.
In keeping with Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of transformability, the bird can also metamorphose into a pair of winged earrings and a brooch, while the yellow diamond can be detached from the clip and worn alone as a pendant.
Van Cleef & Arpels is closely linked to Couture, its motifs and materials, like a discrete homage to Paris, the city of its origins.
One of these couture pieces – the Zip necklace – offers a sophisticated twist on the zip fastener. It was first suggested to Renée Puissant – the Maison’s Artistic Director – in the late 1930s, by the Duchess of Windsor.
Finally produced in 1950, this bold creation is notable for being able to open and close like a real zipper and can thus be worn in two different ways: as a necklace or as a bracelet. Today, it has become a Van Cleef & Arpels icon.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Van Cleef & Arpels was at the forefront of Art Deco jewelry. At that time, women asserted their newly found emancipation with radical changes in fashion. The Art Deco style saw vertical lines, strong symmetry and abstract shapes. This articulated Art Deco bracelet from 1925 illustrates this style. It is set in platinum with square, round and marquise-cut diamonds. Elegant ladies often paired their bracelets and worn them on the wrist or at the top of the arm, according to Indian fashion.
The Minerals and Gems section of the exhibit aims to show how the gems used in the Maison’s creations originally formed inside our planet since it came into being 4,540 million years ago.
This exhibition sheds a unique light on the brilliant artists that have been inspired by these treasures since ancient times, ranging from Mesopotamian lapis lazuli to the lavish French Crown Jewels, on display in Asia for the first time. They all come from the French National Museum of Natural History collections in Paris.