Jewelry influenced by the art of Ancient Egypt was at the height of fashion in the 1920s. The discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922 inspired Van Cleef & Arpels to create Egyptian-inspired jewels between 1922 and 1925. These exceptional jewels are decorated with scenes of offerings and hieroglyphic motifs depicting scarabs, sphinxes, amphorae, bulls, ostrich feathers, lotus flowers, and bees, all of which reference Ancient Egyptian iconography. They are set with precious buff-top emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pavé diamonds, and calibrated onyx stones.
Egyptian bracelet retail card, 1923, Van Cleef & Arpels' Archives
Egyptian bracelet, 1924, Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection
Egyptian clip retail card, 1924, Van Cleef & Arpels' Archives
Egyptian clip, 1924, Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection
Unique creations, these Egyptian jewels are highly sought after by connoisseurs and collectors. This Egyptian revival took place in a context marked by the aesthetic codes of Art Deco, with their shimmering colors and bold contrasts. Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations thus favored onyx, rubies, and diamonds to depict anecdotal scenes from a mythical Ancient World. These band-bracelets and brooches are not aiming for historical accuracy but pay homage to the fascinating mysteries of Egypt.