Jewellery Trends for Autumn 2008
Van Cleef & Arpels
Couture, Luxury, High Jewellery
By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com
Jewellery Trends for Autumn 2008 and Winter 2009
Van Cleef & Arpels Couture, Luxury, High Jewellery
There is luxury jewellery, there are numerous couture
jewellers, then at the top of the high jewellery tree is Van
Cleef & Arpels. Even if you cannot afford this luxury -
yet, its well worth admiring the detail of these necklaces,
brooches, clips and motifs for themselves.
For over a hundred years, the name Van Cleef & Arpels
has been recognised as a symbol of beauty,
and as incomparable sophisticated style of jewellery. In
America this is called 'handcrafted custom jewelry'.
the current economic climate of autumn 2008, Van Cleef & Arpels
most exquisite high jewellery pieces never stop selling, because they
are seen as investments.
The Van Cleef & Arpels brand instantly
conjures the concept of diamonds, rare rubies, sapphires, emeralds and of
luxury jewellery. This high jewellery house consistently strives to
improve methods of cutting stones and create innovative pieces;
as a result the pieces are treasured through generations.
In times of economic strife, or war, the
idea of investing in high quality distinctive jewellery is not
new. In falling markets investors look to Jewellery with couture provenance such as this gem set
bespoke piece by Van Cleef & Arpels (see picture immediately
right). Van Cleef & Arpels
exhibits museum pieces and sometimes resells original vintage
signature prized items owned by collectors.
You have to examine a high definition picture to
appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of Van Cleef & Arpels
couture jewellery pieces.
Right - Van Cleef & Arpels Castalie neckpiece.
Necklace is set in White gold to enhance round diamonds and orange, gold,
You need to contact Van Cleef & Arpels directly to get a
current price of any jewellery. But I can reveal that most of the luxury gemset
pieces shown on this page cost over £100,000.
All images courtesy the jewellery PR department and images
remain the property of Van Cleef & Arpels.
The Van Cleef & Arpels diamond Organdi
necklace left is made of white gold and contains 79 carats of diamonds;
consequently this piece makes a stupendous item of jewellery.
The Couture Diamond Organdi Necklace has the finesse of the
fabric it is named after because fine wire is used to link the
motifs. In the form of a ruffle, the necklace perfectly
curves around the neck and unfolds, like an organdy collar.
The Van Cleef & Arpels House uses a unique winding
articulation technique, making this necklace remarkably
flexible. To reinforce its luminosity and lightness, the
couture jeweller has used hidden settings so that the scattered diamonds
appear to float across the neckline in different layers.
This is why these diamond necklaces are the ultimate in
statement luxury jewellery and
have been for a
The Van Cleef & Arpels House was inspired by the
extravagance, daring and happy-go-lucky spirit of the roaring
Now at Van Cleef & Arpels,
Haute couture and high jewellery unite in a world of
exceptional craftsmanship, characterized by unique artistry and
demanding standards. Van Cleef & Arpels celebrates this union
with its Couture Collection: where fabric becomes jewellery, and
jewellery becomes fabric, the result is to drape a woman in
splendour. You really need to study the detail of the
picture (or the real article) to appreciate the extent of the
The renowned jewellery ornaments and accessories of high fashion are
transformed into rare objects such as: shimmering gold lace,
tassels in precious stones, detailed embroideries, ribbons
covered in rubies and magical zippers.
Above Left - Van Cleef & Arpels shimmering gold
lace Clip Dentelle - 1949 and to the right - Van Cleef & Arpels
Noeud Dentelle a gold lace clip -1945.
How could anyone fail to love these vintage jewellery pieces?
Thanks to the most exquisite technique, the gold work is so fine
that it looks exactly like hand worked golden lace.
As mentioned above, such antique and vintage pieces are bespoke collector's items.
Some even find their way back to their original home at
Van Cleef & Arpels, either as museum pieces, or for resale
the owners within the exclusive Van Cleef & Arpels vintage circle.
One collection inspired by the sea is their
L'ATLANTIDE - Van Cleef & Arpels recreates the
universe of the wondrous isle of the lost city of Atlantis.
There Neptune reigned with his queen Cleita and their court of
nymphs, mermaids and other mythical sea creatures.
The Odyssey to Atlantis begins with the exploration of this
secret world and the discovery, amidst the oceans waters and
undercurrents, the fabulous creatures that play in the shining
surf. The Van Cleef & Arpels Design House uncovers this lost paradise.
Their craftsmen create exquisite
gemstone pieces that represent the
fabulous creatures that live and play in this submerged
Héra from L'Atlantide, is the most fabulous of their high
jewellery clips and is
Within the L'Atlantide collection is a range
called The Kingdom of Neptune.
Using intriguing precious gems, Van Cleef &
Arpels has recreated fantastical beings, wondrous fish and
extraordinary fauna full of freshness and imagination. The
result is a collection of fascinating jewels that reveal new
figures and designs of exquisite beauty.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Kingdom of Neptune
brings to life a
fabulous territory where the sea god appears on his chariot
drawn by surf coloured horses. The Van Cleef & Arpels
Néréide clip left is one of the Neptune pieces.
The Néréide clip is a nymph of yellow and white
gold set with yellow and white diamonds, pear-shaped yellow
sapphires gazing at a stunning, sunset red, 7.21 carat oval cut
spinel clasped in her hands.
Van Cleef & Arpels regularly introduce new
ranges of high jewellery. Collections often favour nature, myths and
literary pieces. The Jardin Collection celebrates the gardens of
France, Romantic England, Renaissance Italy, and the Orient.
It's not difficult to see how in the Orient Jardin d'Extreme Collection, Van Cleef & Arpels have captured
and replicated existing elements such as trees to give a very
definite impression of imagery easily related to Bonsai.
In the luxury Serenité earrings above left, designers have
reproduced the pure lines of the dry oriental gardens
within the flowing curves of diamonds. These lines are studded
with fascinating cabochon star sapphires, imitating smooth
boulders. A few marquise-cut emeralds represent the leaves of
the maple, a highly symbolic tree in Japanese gardens.
Beside the earrings, the Nuit d'Orient ring features a
magnificent black opal (22.96 carats). The ring has aquatic
highlights which are enhanced by the mounting which represents
the pools, cascades and bridges of peaceful Oriental gardens.
Other feminine pieces of luxury jewellery include this delightful
Bugs, insects and natural forms found in
gardens, pass in and out of jewellery trends with regularity, and
a clip like this is an heirloom to be treasured and passed on
This clip shown above right is the Ephémère clip
of yellow and white diamonds, rubies and sapphires. It's so
pretty in its own right that I know if I was ever fortunate
enough to own such a beautiful piece I would also want to
display it as gemart.
Here is another pretty pretty clip which would
suit any age group from a young girl to a much older woman.
What a perfect jewellery gift for a special birthday.
This lovely delicate Caresse d'Eole fairy clip is the
Van Cleef & Arpels interpretation of the world of fairies
from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
It is made in white gold and has round, baguette & rose-cut
diamonds. If you saw Moulin Rouge movie, then you will
instantly recognise it has the same elegant dainty quality of the
fairy Kylie Minogue gave us in the film.
The ruby setting is the famous Van Cleef & Arpels Mystery
setting. You can see a film of this technique at their website.
If you prefer more modern jewellery then what could be lovelier
than this Dentelle bracelet from Couture. It is made from white diamonds set
in white gold, alternating with pink diamonds set in pink gold.
In the past few years wrist cuffs have been one the easiest ways to
update your fashion look. Cuffs have not had such a good run in
fashion trend terms for decades. Cuffs are perfect to show off
an elegant wrist, or slip over a glove when you
wear three quarter length sleeves, a marvellous look for
Pretty, on-trend and very desirable.
All pieces are price on
application to Van Cleef & Arpels.
Setting the trend, and continuing to innovate within
traditional gem pieces has always been a hallmark of Van Cleef &
Arpels luxury jewellery. Those of you familiar with Van Cleef & Arpels gem pieces
may be already aware of the Alhambra motif.
This creativity combined with the jewellery-makers' masterful
use of only the world's top-quality gemstones, has left the Van Cleef & Arpels legacy ripe with iconic creations such as the Alhambra pieces.
Alhambra motif is the legendary quatrefoil Van Cleef & Arpels design which brings luck
and happiness to all who wear it.
It became popular in the 1970s when it was less fashionable
to wear ornate pieces, in that era simplicity of design was the byword for
modern. The answer to intricacy was this modern
quatrefoil motif. The motif is clearly shown in the Magic
Alhambra ear clips in yellow gold with mother of pearl and shown
The classic Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra motif has lent itself
to a multitude of designs in many precious metals. Designs
exist in white gold, yellow gold and platinum as well as gem
Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra motif frequently features in timepieces
such as in the luxury watch below.
The 18 carat gold set round watch shown right, is from a
current (2008) Van Cleef & Arpels timepiece collection called
This watch features an Alhambra inspired
guilloche pattern on the dial, plus an Alhambra quatrefoil
diamond charm. The dazzling bezel sapphire face has a
double diamond surround consisting of two lines of hand set round diamonds.
These diamonds are separated by a ribbon of polished gold, or a
line of larger diamonds dependant on the timepiece style. Naturally, the Van Cleef & Arpels signature is
engraved on the side.
The finishing touch is the charm, this is also in the shape of a
diamond-set Alhambra motif. The charm is attached to the
side of the case by a ring. It was with wonder I learnt that
this four leaf clover turns freely around the dial as though
dancing to a magical tune. And, because a lucky charm
should be worn constantly, Charms comes with interchangeable
straps, in coloured leather or black satin, ensuring that each
wearer can create her own watch to match with any occasion.
Today with so much fashion wear having three-quarter sleeves, lucky charms and iconic
talisman jewellery objects
are more popular than ever as the uncovered wrist draws the eye
of an admirer.
These little charm ornaments find their roots in the English
verb 'to charm':- to seduce, to entice. Such charms can be
worn on a bracelet, chain, ring or key ring.
These lucky charms remind one of ancient amulets and
trinkets, whose existence goes back to the dawn of time.
Man assigns them magical powers and according to their shape and
size, they can cast off bad luck, attract good fortune, assure
good health or protect the bearer from the evil eye. In
the 18th and 19th centuries, they take the
form of personalised and miniature jewels; to onlookers they
became a recognition sign, a good luck charm, or a proof of true
Charms made their comeback at the beginning of the
1930s inspired by
Hollywood and its
stars, who attired themselves in dazzling charm bracelets.
The Van Cleef & Arpels heritage reveals many charm-bracelet
models, often created for special events or international
clientele. Many special orders were produced, such as an iconic charm bracelet made for the
Duchess of Windsor and it featured a miniature of Place Vendôme.
Others pieces included a charm bracelet adorned with seven
swallows in precious stones.
In 1927 Charles Arpels was inspired to create a
minaudière, the forerunner of all
those box metal clutch bags one currently sees at evening
Such is the cachet and quality of a Van Cleef & Arpels piece
that it is much favoured by both royalty and film stars, as well
as many who prefer stealth wealth.
Royal fans of Van Cleef &
Arpels include the Duchess of Windsor (1936), Princess Grace of
Monaco's engagement necklace, and the coronation crown of Empress
Farah in 1967. Marlene Dietrich, Romy Schneider, Catherine
Deneuve, Sharon Stone, Scarlet Johanssen, Julia Roberts and
Jennifer Garner have all worn jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Since that Edwardian
hostess era, Van Cleef & Arpels have opened more than 55
boutiques throughout the world and has created a long and
storied history as one of the world's most celebrated jewellers.
Each new collection is inspired by facets of longstanding themes
including nature, couture and the arts.
The book 'The History of Van Cleef and Arpels' by Richard
Jean-Jacques (2010) is now available at booksellers.
Quality lasts. In times of economic strife, war, or falling markets, the
idea of investing in high quality distinctive jewellery or
wearable art is not
new. Jewellery with couture provenance such as the gem set
bespoke pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels is always readily tradable.
Van Cleef & Arpels exhibits museum pieces and sometimes resells
original vintage signature prized items owned by collectors.
Currently sales show that Richemont luxury goods are selling
better than ever despite the credit crunch.
This page has been about bespoke luxury, one-off, gem and
trends from Van Cleef and Arpels Jewellery design house for Autumn 2008, Winter 2009.
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