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Van Cleef & Arpels

by Julie MIALET 24 Jan 2022

The Innovation Jeweler

Van Cleef & Arpels is one of the oldest French houses on Place Vendôme. Founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and Salomom Arpels, it was only ten years later in 1906 that the boutique at 22 Place Vendôme opened its doors.
The house, renowned for its magnificent pieces of fine jewelry but also for its innovations, received the Grand Prix of the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in 1925. Van Cleef & Arpels was then rewarded for its Bracelet aux Roses.

Aux Roses bracelet, platinum, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, Van Cleef & Arpels

After great success in France, the house expanded internationally and opened a boutique on 5th Avenue in New York in 1930. The Van Cleef family went into exile in the United States during the Second World War.
In 1999, the company which had remained family-run until then was bought by the Swiss group Richemont.
In the early 2000s, Van Cleef & Arpels opened L'École des Arts Joailliers in Paris.


The Van Cleef & Arpels spirit is recognizable by its often floral and magical style. There are a large number of pieces representing fairies, birds, dancers or flowers, a true brand identity today. Renowned for their excellence, the workshops only work with very high quality materials and stones.


The reputation of the brand has been built over the years, thanks to pieces that have remained famous and for some of them updated today.
After the Bracelet aux roses, the House created La Minaudière. A box with compartments which made it possible to store all the necessities of a woman of the time (make-up, lighter, cigarettes).

Minaudière, yellow gold, black enamel, ruby turquoises, Van Cleef & Arpels

A few years later, we find the Cadenas Watch, which recalled the secret watches of the early 20th century, a time when it was considered that women did not need to know the time.

Cadenas watch, yellow gold, rubies, Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1940
Cadenas watch, white gold, diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels, 2017


The Zip necklace is also an emblematic creation of the brand. Functioning like a zipper, the length of the necklace is adjustable and it is possible to separate it into two parts to enjoy a bracelet.

Zip necklace, yellow gold, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels



Finally, the Alhambra collection, representing a clover pattern marks the worldwide success of the brand. Created in 1968, the Alhambra long necklace uses a four-leaf clover motif, a lucky charm. Completely in the flower power spirit of the time, the success of this necklace was immediate. In addition, the simplicity of the pattern makes the necklace very easy to wear and it has become the favorite necklace of many celebrities, such as Grace Kelly, Romy Schneider or Françoise Hardy.


This collection, with its long necklaces, necklaces, rings, bracelet and earrings is still today the best seller of the house.


From Marlène Dietrich to Elizabeth Taylor via Barbara Hutton, many celebrities of the 20th and 21st centuries have worn jewelry signed Van Cleef & Arpels.
The Empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, commissioned the house to create her crown for her coronation in 1967.

Farah Palhavi during her coronation, her crown is set in the center with a magnificent emerald.

In 1955, Grace Kelly had her wedding dress made by the house. Van Cleef & Arpels is today the official supplier of the Principality of Monaco.



The French house is also renowned for its technical innovations.
The jeweler created the Passe-Partout necklace, for which Van Cleef And Arpels filed a patent. It is a jewel that can be transformed and worn in different ways. The goal was to allow women to adapt their jewelry according to the circumstances. The Tubogas mesh, characteristic of the 1940s, allows easy adjustment of the length. The Passe Partout could therefore be worn as a long or choker necklace, as a bracelet and the two flowers could be worn as earrings.


But the great invention is the Serti Mystérieux, an innovation also registered by the House. This technique allows stones to be set without visible scratches. It requires the most precise know-how and a considerable number of hours of work. Today, the Maison still creates fine jewelry pieces made using this setting.

Flower brooch, platinum, diamonds, rubies, Van Cleef and Arpels

All these elements mean that today Van Cleef and Arpels is labeled Living Heritage Company.


If you are interested in jewelry from Maison Van Cleef & Arpels, do not hesitate to discover what Les Pierres de Julie has to offer in store…

We are also available for any free expertise of your Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, for this you can send an email with your photos to

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

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