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Van Cleef & Arpels

The Inventive Jeweler

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Van Cleef And Arpels is one of the oldest French houses in Place Vendôme. Founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and Salomom Arpels, it was only ten years later, in 1906, that the shop at 22 Place Vendôme opened.
The house, renowned for its magnificent pieces of fine jewelery but also for its innovations received, in 1925, the grand prize of the International Exhibition of Decorative and Modern Industrial Arts. Van Cleef And Arpels was rewarded for his Roses Bracelet.

 

Roses Bracelet, platinum, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, Van Cleef And Arpels

After a large French success, the house expanded internationally and opened a boutique on 5th Avenue, New York, in 1930. The Van Cleef family exiled to the United States during the Second World War.
In 1999, the company which had until then remained family was bought by the Swiss group Richemont.
In the early 2000s, Van Cleef And Arpels opened The School of Fine Arts in Paris.

THE VAN CLEEF SPIRIT

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

MYTHICAL PIECES

The fame of the brand has been built over the years, thanks to jewels that have remained famous. Some of them updated today.
After the Roses Bracelet, the house created La Minaudière. A box compartments that allowed storing all the necessities of a woman of that time (makeup, lighter, cigarette…).

 

Minaudière, yellow gold, black email, ruby, turquoises, Van Cleef And Arpels

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

Cadenas watch, yellow gold, ruby, Van Cleef And Arpels, circa 1940
Cadenas watch, white gold, diamonds, Van Cleef And Arpels, 2017

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

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

THE ALHAMBRA COLLECTION

Finally, the Alhambra collection, representing a pattern of clover marks the global success of the brand.

The Alhambra long necklace with a four-leaf clover pattern was created in 1968. Completely in the flower power spirit of the time, the success of this necklace was immediate. Moreover 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 necklaces, rings, bracelet and earrings is still today the best seller of the house.

THE FAMOUS CLIENTS

From Marlene Dietrich to Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Hutton, many celebrities from the 20th and 21st centuries wore jewelry by Van Cleef And Arpels.
The empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, asked the house to create her crown for her coronation in 1967.

Farah Palhavi at her coronation, the crown is set in the center with a beautiful emerald.

In 1955, Grace Kelly had her wedding parure made by the house. Van Ceef And Arpels is today the official supplier of the Principality of Monaco.

GREAT INNOVATIONS

The French house is also famous for its technical innovations.
The jeweler made The Passe-Partout Necklace, for which Van Cleef And Arpels filed a patent. It’s a jewel that can be transformed and worn in different ways. The goal was to allow women to adapt their jewelry depending on the circumstances. The Tubogas mesh, characteristic of the 40’s, allows an easy adjustment of the length. The Passe Partout could therefore be worn in a long necklace or in the neck, in a bracelet and the two flowers could be worn in earrings.

 

But the greatest invention is the Mysterious Set, an innovation also introduced by the house. This technique allows to crimp the stones without apparent claws. It requires a knowledge of the most predict and a considerable number of hours of work. The house still creates high jewelery pieces made thanks to this setting.

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

All these elements explain why Van Cleef and Arpels is today labeled Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant.

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