From Van Cleef & Arpels seemingly infinite Alhambra universe comes a new constellation of fine jewellery, which adds another playful twist to the Clover’s famous logo-inspired jewels.
The light-filled new Van Cleef & Arpels Clover Necklace collection is once again inspired by the flowers of the iconic VCA Alhambra print, as seen on leather goods, trunks and fabrics for more than a century. If you recall, the Alhambra motif is made up of three simple geometric shapes: one is a round-petal quatrefoil flower inside a circle; another a simple four-armed star-shaped flower; while the third is the same shape in negative, inside a diamond with tapered points.
Playing with these simple yet versatile shapes, the Clover design atelier in Paris brings new life to these enduring motifs. The Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry outlet in white and yellow gold, and the Star gems in white or rose gold, have been treated to a shimmering of diamonds and the moonlight iridescence of mother-of-pearl.
It is interesting to note that this is the first time Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery UK has featured mother-of-pearl in its Alhambra collection. But since Clover prides itself on doing things its own way, the mother-of-pearl is facetted into a gently rounded cabochon shape, which adds extra depth and a luxurious play of nacre to these delicate fine jewellery pieces. The soft sheen of mother-of-pearl is the perfect companion to the brilliance of diamonds and highly polished gold.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Perlee jewelry radiate warmth thanks to the use of summer-bright white gold or hazy warm yellow gold. The gold circle around each of the motifs is either fluted to create a mirage of light, or set with diamonds to dazzle with their fire.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Jewelry are distinguishable by their generous diamond settings as well as the openwork gold, which allows for sizeable proportions without the weight of solid cast gold.
Strung on dainty chains, dangling from pendants or set on simple gold bands as a ring, the Clover jewels have a resolutely contemporary feel, even if the original Alhambra pattern has its roots in the Victorian era. The long chains and earrings are designed to be worn every day, thanks to the Maison’s delightfully informal sense of luxury.
Forever innovating, the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Bracelet collection, first seen 15 years ago, now consists of the Sun, Star, Idylle, Fusion and Dentelle collections. Testimony to the creative force of Clover’s design team, these fine jewellery pieces remain fresh and distinctive. Using a range of materials and differing levels of opulence, the perennial Alhambra pattern proves that good design lives on and on.
I wonder what Van Cleef & Arpels, who devised the original Alhambra motif in 1896 to protect his steamer trunks from counterfeits, would make of the lifecycle of his famous geometric design?