Van Cleef & Arpels returns Haute Joaillerie to real life

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed — in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving; — boundless, endless, and sublime —
The image of Eternity — the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
George Gordon, Lord Byron,
an excerpt from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
 [Canto Four, Stanzas 178-186]

The feelings you experience when you try on jewellery pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels! 

Van Cleef & Arpels have been contributing to the creation of beautiful jewellery since 1896.  From admiration to sheer joy - the jewellery of Van Cleef and Arpels combines outstanding craftsmanship and love to create a touch of magic. It is really true that the more beauty in this world, the more kind it is.

The Seven Seas collection aims to bring a new real-life wear ability to Haute Joaillerie. “We want to make pieces that you see and you want to wear,” says Nicolas Bos, CEO & Creative Director of Van Cleef & Arpels. “So you say, ‘Great! I am going to Capri, and this is the piece!”

“These pieces are a less formal shape, lighter and easier to wear – that is what we wanted to capture.” comments Bos. “It is very important for us to convey this message because High Jewellery is so often seen through a lens of amazement - about pieces worth five million euros being sold by millionaires – there is kind of a myth around that. It is very important that High Jewellery is relevant for not just 200 people in this world, but for many more. It is something that should really be considered for its quality, tradition and creativity – not only for the formal aspect or it’s price. That is one of the driving intentions for this collection.” (Following the article by Suzy Menkes “Van Cleef & Arpels High Jewellery cruise collection makes waves” for Vogue)

Presentation of the Seven Seas collection took place at Villa Paloma, the New National Museum of Monaco on the French Riviera. Of the total 120 pieces within the collection, Van Cleef & Arpels showed 50 pieces at this special and beautiful occasion.  It is perhaps an indication of the popularity of this collection, that all of these pieces were immediately sold. 

The Seven Seas collection generally starts in price from 50,000-80,000 Euros. However, the pi?ce de r?sistance is the Bleu Absolu neckpiece.  This highly covetable and convertible necklace features very rare Kashmir sapphires with a total weight of 85.86 carats.   At around 8 million Euros, the Bleu Absolu is the most valuable in the collection.

The Seven Seas

The words “Seven Seas” refers to the ancient times and the mystic significance that was attached to the oceans of the world and the number seven.  The concept of seven has always been sacred. There are seven days of the week in the calendar and ancient Egyptians saw seven planets in the sky.  According to the Bible, the world was created by God in seven days and there were seven ancient wonders of the world. Even Geography could not avoid the sacred number seven - seven hills, seven lakes, seven islands and of course, Seven Seas.

"There were times when people did not know what was going on behind the boundless waters of the ocean, and European explorers thought the East Indies were the end of the world and dreamed of traveling to unknown, often fictional countries. In those days, people believed that there really were mermaids in the sea.” says Nicolas Bos. “To create the collection, we have studied the history and the myths. We have tried to scope out the Seven Seas as different stages of the dream investigation."

Each Sea is unique. Each has its own character and mood, flora and fauna. Accordingly, the new Seven Seas collection features seven mini-collections with names that feature characteristics of these beautiful waters: The Arabian, Mediterranean, Black, Adriatic, Red and Caspian Seas, as well as Indian and Atlantic oceans.  Each water kingdom is represented by its’ typical inhabitants.  Special stones, colors and shapes are used to render the peculiar and unique spirit of each sea.

Mediterranean Sea

The clear Mediterranean Sea, so deep and blue in glittering sunlight, is incarnated by hot corals, sapphires, diamonds, tourmalines and aquamarines.

It is represented by a magic Flamant Corail necklace. The outstretched wings of the flamingo gently envelope your neck, while the flamingo is detachable and can be worn separately as a brooch.  This is fitting and all in the best traditions of Van Cleef & Arpels, so famous for it’s traditional of transformable jewellery.

Flamant corail necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels: Pink gold, round diamonds, round and pear-shaped pink sapphires, round peridots, pink and red coral, onyx

The Clapotis necklace, with a removable pendant made of diamonds, sapphires, pearls and a mint tourmaline of 15.73 carats, immediately attracts the eye.

Clapotis necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, round and pear-shaped diamonds, sapphires, one white cultured pearl, one cushion-cut green tourmaline of 15.73 carats.

In the Rouleau Azur bracelet, fine threads of lapis lazuli, turquoise, pearls and diamonds are intricately woven into a sea wave, suggesting the feeling and movement of surf.  To make the bracelet dense, voluminous and strong, Van Cleef & Arpels applied their own master technique, threading and knotting each bead individually.  The workmanship is superb.

Rouleau Azur bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, diamonds, white cultured pearls, lapis lazuli and turquoise beads

Black Sea

The Black Sea pieces are dark and mysterious, represented by calm and cool decorative designs, often fashioned in black and white.

For example, the Cheval Des Mers necklace is made of cultured black pearls and onyx decorated with a sea horse.

Cheval des Mers long necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels:  White cultured pearls, chalcedonies, sapphires, onyx, diamonds

The Nageur Noir et Blanc brooch continues the 1920’s tradition of creating brooches in the form of fish.  Engraved onyx reproduces the texture of fish scales, and the fins are decorated with black spinel and white diamonds.

Nageur Noir et Blanc clip by Van Cleef & Arpels:  White gold, diamonds, cabochon-cut sapphires, black spinels, onyx

Adriatic Sea

The Adria ring showcases an exclusive Zambian emerald of 8.35 carats and reminds us of the sunny glories of the turquoise Adriatic coast.

The combination of green, light blue and deep blue with different techniques of cutting stones recreates the rolls of the sea and plays with colors flushed with sunlight. The ring revives the tradition of cocktail rings, so popular in the 1960’s. 

Adria ring by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, platinum, round and baguette-cut diamonds, baguette-cut sapphires, Para?ba-like tourmalines, one cushion-cut emerald of 8.35 carats (Zambia)

And the Anc?ne ring with a stunning 3.28 carat Colombian emerald was created as a reminder of the ancient landscape of Anc?ne, a fortified city in Italy.

Anc?ne ring by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, round and baguette-cut diamonds, sapphires, turquoise beads, one octogonal-cut emerald of 3.28 carats (Colombia)

Finally, comes the Lagune Pr?cieuse necklace studded with aquamarines that total a weight of 160 carats, and with sapphires and diamonds, all laid into a sparkling mosaic.

Lagune Pr?cieuse necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels White gold, round, baguette-cut and pear-shaped diamonds, sapphires, round, square-cut, octogonal-cut and pear-shaped aquamarines. 

Red sea

The amazing underwater worlds of the beautiful Red Sea are represented by the Goutte de Spinelle ring featuring a pink spinel of 14.34 carats in the middle.

Goutte de spinelle ring by Van Cleef & Arpels  Pink gold, round and baguette-cut diamonds, baguette-cut rubies, one pear-shaped pink spinel of 14.34 carats.

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea comes alive in Vagues Misterieuses brooch. It is a wonderful piece of art due to its landmark Mystery Setting. This recreates the curls of waves dashing at each other and evokes the lightness, motion and feeling of the surf. 

Vagues Myst?rieuses clip by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, diamonds, Para?ba tourmalines, sapphires, Mystery Set sapphires

 "It is a good illustration of the collection.  With regard to its design, the most interesting thing here was to convey the motion and the stream of the sea, as the wave is a figurative concept having an abstract form," states Nicolas Bos.

With regard to it’s technical background, the Mystery Setting was patented by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1933.  The amazing skill lies in the fact that prongs are not visible from outside and the stones look totally loose.  This exceptional technique is extremely difficult and laborious to produce - a brooch may take up to 300 hours to construct.  Of course, this makes each piece rare and extremely valuable

Vagues Myst?rieuses clip by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, diamonds, Para?ba tourmalines, sapphires, Mystery Set sapphires

Indian and Atlantic oceans

The unexplored world of Indian and Atlantic oceans is revealed to us by the graceful F?e des Mers resting on the reef of chalcedony.  With a total weight of 23.64 carats, this piece features the goddess of the sea, luxurious and attractive, and is one of the most beautiful jewellery pieces in the collection.  

F?e des Mers clip by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, yellow gold, round and rose-cut diamonds, blue and yellow sapphires, spessartite and grossular garnets, cabochon-cut chalcedony of 23.64 carats.

The Sea Fairy continues the theme of fairies and dancers, scattered throughout the collections of Van Cleef & Arpels since the 1940’s.  The elegance and grace of the sea goddess is achieved again due to the Mystery Setting.  The technique reaches perfection in this piece, as sapphires are inserted in a setting that is totally invisible from both sides.

This setting technique was demonstrated by Van Cleef & Arpels for the first time in 2014, when they created and showed Libellule brooch. Previously, the setting had been invisible only from outside, but now it became invisible from both sides.

The luxurious Pang?e necklace has been created in honor of the long-term friendship between Van Cleef & Arpels and the Principality of Monaco.  The concept was born in 2011, when the Jewellery House was commissioned to create the Ocean Tiara and Necklace – a single convertible creation - for the marriage ceremony of Prince Albert II and the Princess Charlene.

Pang?e necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, round and pear-shaped diamonds.

Benguerra bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels:  White gold, diamonds, blue and yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets, white cultured pearls. 

Arabian Sea

The warm Arabian Sea is symbolized by the incredibly beautiful Etoile de Mer brooch.  In the form of a starfish with white diamonds and pink sapphires, the brooch incarnates the vitality of nature.

?toile de Mer clip by Van Cleef & Arpels: Pink gold, round and pear-shaped diamonds, pink sapphires

The Trois Tortues brooch is made from white mother-of-pearl and sapphires and impersonates three small turtles, one swimming after another on the waves of white gold and diamonds.  The carapace of each turtle is divided into several parts and the pearls are set in each section with the help of the Mystery Setting technique.

Trois Tortues clip by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, diamonds, cabochon-cut sapphires, white mother-of-pearl

Mer des ?toiles ring by Van Cleef & Arpels: White gold, round and baguette-cut diamonds, round and pear-shaped sapphires, chrysoprase, one oval-cut sapphire of 7.29 carats (Sri Lanka)

Mer de Sindh ring by Van Cleef & Arpels: Cushion-cut sapphire of 10.80 carats (Sri Lanka) and diamonds.

The Bleu Absolu necklace is worth special mention.  As thepi?ce de r?sistance of the Seven Seas collection, it is decorated with diamonds and very rare Kashmir sapphires totaling 85.86 carats. As a transformable necklace, there are six different ways of wearing it – each stunning and bringing a true diversity to this precious piece.

The previous owner of the sapphires was the Maharani of Baroda - muse and a premiere client of Van Cleef & Arpels.  In 1974, pieces from her extensive jewellery collection were auctioned and entered the world market.  The beautiful sapphires changed hands over several owners and after many years, Van Cleef & Arpels repurchased them.  

Bleu Absolu necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels:  White gold, round and baguette-cut diamonds, one pear-shaped DIF diamond of 14.22 carats, 5 sapphire drops for a total of 85.86 carats (Kashmir)

As the leading piece in the exuberant and dazzling Seven Seas collection, the Bleu Absolu is truly unique and precious.  To own and wear this piece is to make history, to invest in beauty and truly, to celebrate the joy of life.  



Van Cleef & Arpels
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Tatyana Pfaifer

The founder of Jewellery Masterpiece