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5 Things to Know About Van Cleef & Arpels, the Jewelry Label Loved by Middle Eastern Royalty

Queen Nazly of Egypt wearing her Van Cleef & Arpels necklace on her daughter’s wedding, circa 1939. Photo: Faouad Sadek.

Van Cleef & Arpels has been synonymous with French luxury and haute jewelry for almost a century. But what most of us don’t know is the extraordinary story behind the founding of the brand and the creative process and craftsmanship that goes into making each of its unique creations. The luxury French maison has a remarkable story to tell with every piece of jewelry they make.

Estelle Arpel to Alfred Van Cleef. Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Founded on a love story
Following the Marriage of Estelle Arpel to Alfred Van Cleef in 1895. Van Cleef and Arpels was founded in Paris in 1906 and opened their first-ever store in Place Vendôme.

Atelier Van Cleef. Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

The Mystery Set
Produced scarcely each year for its extreme complexity, this unique technique called “The Mystery Set” is so intricate that producing a single clip takes no less than 300 hours work. In this method, Specially cut precious stones are individually positioned on gold rails, perfectly fitting into a golden setting that remains invisible on either side, thus creating a subtle air of mystery.

Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

The Famous Peony Clip

During a trip to Paris in 1937, Princess Faiza of Egypt was gifted a beautiful Van Cleef and Arpels brooch by the Foreign Minister of Egypt. This clip consists of two mystery set peonies surrounded by diamond leaves. The famous clip represents the very essence of the Maison’s artistry through its technique and intricate design.

Zip Antique Rayon de saphir necklace transformable into a bracelet. White gold, sapphires, black spinels, diamonds.

The Zip Necklace
Representing the influence of couture in the Maison, the Zip necklace is one of Van Cleef & Arpel’s boldest creations to date. The idea, given by the British Duchess of Windsor was inspired from the zipper and illustrates the Maison’s taste for innovative, yet transformable pieces. The zip necklace can be worn as a necklace or closed as a bracelet depending on the wearer’s mood.

The Art of Secrecy
For Van Cleef and Arpels, the theme of mystery is one of their best-known signatures. Nestled in the heart of this Fleur blue ring is a quote from Oscar Wilde engraved in Gold- “Une vie sans amour est comme un garden sans soleil” (A life without love is like a garden without sunlight). This piece is made up of 5.13-carat Burmese cushion cut sapphires and only reveals itself to the person who has pierced its mystery.

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