- The latest Diamond Breeze collection draws on the lotus, symbolic in Chinese culture, sacred to Hinduism and Buddhism, and the national flower of India and Vietnam
- VCA has worked with artists Fideli Sundqvist and Erik Madigan Heck, and architects and designers Kim Haddou, Florent Dufourcq, Céline Thibault and Géraud Pellottiero
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Diamond Breeze collection celebrates fresh creativity every winter, with 2021 returning to a common source of inspiration for the brand: the lotus flower. Photos: VCA
The beautiful, serene lotus flower has a uniquely powerful cultural resonance across Asia. Cultivated in the region for thousands of years, it is a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, a sacred bloom in Hinduism and Buddhism, and the national flower of both India and Vietnam.
Storied Parisian high jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels has long been fascinated by the lotus, using it as a source of inspiration for its pieces since an Egyptian-themed line created in the 1920s. Each winter, the house unveils its Diamond Breeze collection of pieces inspired by the beauty of nature and veiled by a blanket of snow, and this year the lotus takes centre stage, as Van Cleef & Arpels showcases a set of three spectacular new lotus pieces – a between-the-finger ring, a pendant and a pair of earrings – that reinterpret that vintage inspiration for the 21st century.
The maison made its first lotus-inspired between-the-finger ring in 2001, and it redesigned the piece in 2017 with a clever system that allows it to be worn in a number of different ways, making it feel like several rings in one.
The latest iteration of this delightful piece features four lotus flowers picked out in white gold and diamonds, sloping upwards as if a gentle breeze is playing across them.
Dazzling: the Diamond Breeze collection’s lotus flower pendant in white gold and diamonds.
Along similar lines, the pendant from the new collection features three flowers, all of different sizes, that shimmer on the neck thanks to the twinkling diamonds and their openworked setting. The earrings, meanwhile, also feature three asymmetrical flowers each, one of which is suspended artfully away from the skin, with bead and prong setting techniques elevating their glittering impact.
The lotus is not the only flower to have provided Van Cleef & Arpels with inspiration over the years. In fact, the house has drawn on a dazzling array of different blooms in the decades since a daisy first appeared on a clip dating back to 1907, including buttercups, camellias, chrysanthemums, fuchsias, anemones, lilies of the valley, violets and bellflowers.
Van Cleef & Arpels has also long recognised the ways in which its pieces complement, and are enhanced by, creative works from a variety of other fields. With this in mind, it has regularly joined forces for the Diamond Breeze collection with a select group of artists, designers and interior architects, giving them the opportunity to reinterpret the maison’s pieces as they see fit, in the process adding whole new dimensions. Those partners have included the likes of paper artist Fideli Sundqvist, photographer and painter Erik Madigan Heck, interior architect duo Kim Haddou and Florent Dufourcq, and textiles/interiors duo Céline Thibault and Géraud Pellottiero.
For the current iteration of the collection, the house has teamed up with Helen Amy Murray, a British artist renowned for her sculptures using soft materials such as leather and textiles, who is designing decorative tableaus for the company’s boutique windows. Murray has worked extensively with Van Cleef & Arpels before, designing large colourful panels for its outlets in Paris, London and New York, and her inviting, tactile work makes a fitting companion to a graceful, enticing new jewellery collection.