May 24, 2011
1 Van Cleef & Arpels
2 Van Cleef & Arpels
3 Van Cleef & Arpels
In 1896, Parisians Salomon Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef founded the Van Cleef & Arpels French jewellery, watch and perfume company, with their first boutique opening in Paris in 1906.
The company quickly gathered speed in becoming world-renowned for its expertise in precious stones and jewellery and watch making and patented numerous milestones in the world of exquisite accessories.
These landmark creations included the formation of the world’s first watch with a leather strap, made with white or yellow gold in 1923.
Seven years later the Minaudiere, a petite and precious box to hold a lipstick, lighter, keys or powder compact, was produced and in 1950, Cleef & Arpel’s Zip necklace came along, which can be opened and closed like a zip.
Since its inception, Van Cleef & Arpels have been synonymous with royalty, the famous and the affluent, providing the elite members of civilisation with exceptional and unique pieces of jewellery, often designed to enhance the beauty of precious stones.
Until 5 June 2011, the Cooper-Hewitt, National; Design Museum in New York City is holding ‘Set in Style: The Jewellery of Van Cleef & Arpels’ exhibition, which explores the company’s exceptional innovation and influence in the world of jewellery making throughout the twentieth century.
The exhibition features more than 300 works by the influential designers, including jewels, watches, timepieces and many other ‘objects d’art’ created by Van Cleef & Arpels for their exclusive clientele of royalty and the excessively wealthy.
The Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition is divided into six principle parts, innovation, transformation, nature, exoticism, fashion and personalities, all of which sum-up the designer’s extraordinary career.
On entrance to the Set in Style exhibition, visitors are immediately greeted by the following words elaborately hung to the wall, an poignant reminder of what the exhibition is all about:
“The recipe for making an exquisite piece of jewellery is akin to haute cuisine: masters employ special techniques to mix and adorn top quality ingredients, creating something that is far greater than the sum of its parts.”