May 29, 2024


Unique & Classy

Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels”

5 min read

The dialogue between the earth and your brooch is the subject matter of a new exhibit at the Normal Background Museum in New York Metropolis. Listen cautiously.

Reverie clip

Peridots, mauve sapphires, and diamonds, from the Les Jardins collection, 2009 (Lead picture)

Iron and magnesium could not be the 1st issues that occur to brain when you see this Van Cleef & Arpels peridot, mauve sapphire, and diamond brooch, but you have them to thank for the privilege of hunting at it. They are the dominant substances in its central stone, the ones that give it its signature verdant hue. This is the type of factor you master touring the new “Garden of Eco-friendly: Beautiful Jewelry from the Assortment of Van Cleef & Arpels” exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Purely natural History (through January). There, in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, portion of the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, stories that start out deep in the earth and stop with jewels glowing on your lapel turn into central in detailing the natural beauty of just about every of the 44 Van Cleef & Arpels items on exhibit, 32 for the initial time in the United States. Method is what readers are most amazed by in this hall: how stones are fashioned within the earth and increase to the surface area, and are then slice and smoothed and faceted right before remaining designed into jewels for particular adornment. That this has been continuing for eons is created loud and distinct here, maybe more than wherever else in the environment. All that in a person intricately carved tree brooch.

Carpenteria brooch

van cleef and arpels

Emeralds, garnets, peridots, yellow sapphires, and white opals, from the California Rêverie collection, 2009

Maxime Poiblanc

While the miracles of mother nature dominate the gem and mineral halls—two huge ­amethyst-lined geodes greet you at the entrance door—the hunks of jade and shards of emerald only provide to illuminate the human ingenuity and artistry of the Van Cleef parts in the exhibit. The reminder that these tough stones are the uncooked supplies for a piece as intricate as the one particular higher than can make you glance at each carved petal in another way, will make you lean in a bit much more closely versus the glass and wonder, “How did they do that?” The layout of the parts feels that significantly extra miraculous—that these fragments of the earth could, through creative imagination and craftsmanship, conclude up as an Art Deco lapel pin, that a hunk of inexperienced stone could possibly keep on its lifetime as a section of yours.

Cydonia necklace

van cleef and carpels

Emeralds and pink and colorless diamonds, from the Les Jardins collection, 2009

Maxime Poiblanc

Exterior the “Garden of Green” gallery, the Patricia Emerald, a 632-carat crystal that was found in 1920 in the Chivor Mine in Colombia, is on perspective. Within is this Van Cleef & Arpels necklace named following the tree that bears quince. If the show highlights the wide range of environmentally friendly stones the residence has utilized all over its 117 decades, it also illuminates the job character has played in the company’s structure historical past. There are flowers and tree branches and butterflies all through, and in case you have neglected, that legendary Van Cleef Alhambra is a great luck clover.

Ludo Secret check out

van cleef and carpels

Emeralds, diamonds, and white mother-of-pearl in yellow gold, 2023

Maxime Poiblanc

Bonus shot! You will not see this new timepiece in the exhibition, but you ought to understand it as a Van Cleef & Arpels immediately after your take a look at. Continuity in craftsmanship and style and design language is main to the legend of Van Cleef, and it is unmistakable listed here. The household has been making Top secret watches, with concealed dials, since the 1920s—a signature note of whimsy that characterizes even Van Cleef’s most really serious items. That wit, alongside with the complex wizardry noticed in the carved malachite butterfly and the peridot-studded tree in the Museum of Pure Record vitrines, is echoed below in a fusion of masterful watchmaking and jewellery layout. And, certainly, there are individuals emeralds, far too.

Pongal Ring

van cleef and carpels

A cushion-minimize emerald of 27.81 carats with rubies and diamonds, from the Pierres de Caractère–Variations collection, 2013

Maxime Poiblanc

Each and every year considering that 2006 Van Cleef has introduced a High Jewellery collection to showcase a person-of-a-kind parts. These occasions have turn into as perfectly acknowledged for their remarkably crafted narratives as for the jewels on their own. There have been homages to California, French fairy tales, donkey pores and skin, and, this 12 months, the European tradition of the Grand Tour. In 2013 the story was all about the stones. A important plot issue? This 27.81-carat emerald.

Saint Louis Clip and Butterfly Clip

van cleef and arpels

Saint Louis Clip: Chalcedony, coral, and diamonds, 1974 Butterfly Clip: Malachite and diamonds, 1971

Maxine Poiblanc

The vitrines in the American Museum of All-natural Historical past show are labeled by stone. Some, like emerald and jade, are familiar to visitors. Other folks, like chrysoprase, eco-friendly chalcedony, and malachite, are maybe fewer so. But they have all been part of the Van Cleef palette. Stones like malachite and chalcedony were primarily well known in the house’s 1970s types (the trademark extensive gold pendants are generally studded with them, and the highly collectible zodiac charms showcased them as backgrounds). The vitrines also include things like plaques listing the stones’ origins and qualities. So, sure, you can surely go and stare at the carved Van Cleef emeralds on the pendant Prince Karim Aga Khan IV bought his wife in 1971 that converts into matching bracelets and a clip. And you may perhaps not be capable to take your eyes off the electrical peridot on a drop necklace, or the daring malachite in the Van Cleef jumbo zodiac pendants. But is not it also interesting to know the next, through George Harlow, curator emeritus of the museum’s section of earth and planetary sciences: “Green stones and minerals owe their one of a kind shades and patterns to many will cause: malachite from the copper in its chemical composition, and peri­dot from the slight quantity and ionic cost of iron in the stone. Every specimen in this exhibition is a attractive illustration of the remarkable solutions of natural earth procedures.” One thing to think about as you gaze into the vitrine—and also the upcoming time you walk into a jewellery shop.

Photography by Maxime Poiblanc
Established Design and style by Katja Greef

This tale appears in the September 2023 problem of City & Nation.


Headshot of Stellene Volandes

Editor In Main

Editor-in-Chief Stellene Volandes is a jewelry expert, and the creator of Jeweler: Masters and Mavericks of Modern Structure (Rizzoli).