Van Cleef & Arpels released its new high jewellery collection Legends of Diamonds at Couture Week 2022 and it was an ode to the venerable Parisian jeweller’s long heritage
This Paris Couture Week, Van Cleef & Arpels debuted its latest high jewellery collection, Legends of Diamonds, dedicated to the Maison’s long-standing love for the precious gemstone.
Back in 2018, Van Cleef & Arpels was presented with the Lesotho Legend, an extraordinary 910 carat rough diamond, by its long-time diamond partner Taché. Diamcad, a leading diamond cutter based in Antwerp, then helped to plan and cut the rough into a combination of large cut diamonds using 3-D technology, maximising their brilliance and beauty at the same time.
In all, 67 diamonds were produced with a total of 441.75 carats, all graded as ‘Flawless’ to ‘Internally Flawless’. These exceptional diamonds provided the started point for the entire Legends of Diamonds collection. “The first six months of designing the collection were particularly intense,” says Thomas Pozsgai, director of the Van Cleef & Arpels Design Studio. “We had to envision creations that embodied the Maison’s style, that highlighted its expertise, such as the Mystery Set technique, while also enhancing these diamonds…The challenge was to design harmonious piece that brought all of these elements together without one overshadowing the others.”
The first chapter of Van Cleef & Arpels’ new High Jewellery Collection is dedicated to its trademarked Mystery Setting
The resulting collection is a tale told in two halves. The first chapter consists of 25 shimmering pieces dedicated to Van Cleef & Arpels’ expertise with the ‘Mystery Setting’ – a trademark technique developed by the house in the 1930s, where gemstones appear in fluid lines, with no visible metal clasps. This first chapter took over 30,000 hours to create and showcases the very best of the Maison’s technical and artistic prowess.
One 79.35-carat oval-cut stone, the biggest diamond cut from the Lesotho Legend, has been set amidst dramatic swirls of Mystery Set rubies and diamonds for a magnificent necklace that plays on Van Cleef & Arpels’ love of couture and fabrics – its swagged shape was inspired by two historic pieces created by the house in the late 1930s for Queen Nazli of Egypt. The central diamond itself is detachable, and can be worn as a pendant on a chain.
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Atours Mystérieux transformable necklace is set with a 79.35 carat oval-cut diamond
Elsewhere, the Draperie Mystérieuse Clip was inspired by the draped gowns designed by the legendary French couturier Madame Grès in the 1950s. Rows of Mystery Set emeralds and sapphires meet snow set diamonds in a fluid, scarf-like form, ending in three tassel-like pear-cut drops. Other highlights include the Collorette Mystérieuse, a couture-inspired collar with alternating rows of diamonds and Traditional Mystery Set rubies, edged with pink sapphires and square-cut diamonds designed to replicate the look of delicate lace. Its largest diamond, a 51carat stone, can be separated and worn instead on a ring, or replaced with another Mystery Set ruby pendant.
The Draperie Mystérieuse clip was created in white and rose gold, with Mystery Set emeralds and sapphires and three pear-cut diamond drops, weighing over one carat each.
The second chapter of Legends of Diamonds is simply that – a collection of 82 white diamond jewels that demonstrate the house’s historic dedication to extraordinary diamonds. For these pieces, Van Cleef & Arpels once again drew inspiration from its own archives, harking back to its floral garland forms of the Belle Époque, the abstract shapes of the Art Deco period, and even the impactful, disco-like jewels of the 1970s and 80s.
One cuff, the Floraison de Diamants bracelet, has been crafted from white gold, in a nod to the sparkling effects of platinum and diamond jewellery from the 1920s. Its mesmeric ’embossed’ effect was achieved by overlapping ribbons of diamond-paved gold, along with the use of a variety of different diamond cuts and settings.
Van Cleef & Arpels new Chrysler earrings were inspired by the graphic architecture of the 1920s
More of the Roaring Twenties has been evoked in the form of a long, flapper-style diamond necklace that can be worn in eight different ways, as well as a set of earrings named Chrysler, after Manhattan’s legendary building. Much like architecture, these sleek earrings have openwork frames, set with alternating rows of round and pear-shaped diamonds on four tiers, allowing light to enter and creating an intense dazzle which is reflected on their wearer’s skin.
Optimistic, dynamic and intensely ambitious, this is a high jewellery collection that is destined to be discussed by jewellery lovers for decades to come. Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef & Arpels’ President and CEO, agrees: “I think we have successfully shown that an exceptional diamond can be the starting point for an extraordinary collection that will be a milestone in the history of the Maison.”