The Alhambra motif may be one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most recognisable and beloved totems.
The talismanic collection shines with renewed vigour as five new jewellery creations in guilloché white gold enrich the legendary jewels.
“To be lucky, you have to believe in luck,” Jacques Arpels, Estelle Arpels’s nephew, often remarked. His sentiments reflect Van Cleef & Arpels’ embrace of luck as a value that has often guided its footsteps and inspired numerous iconic creations.
Alhambra celebrates luck, taking inspiration from the four-leaf clover, with a design that also echoes the traditional Moorish quatrefoil, a pattern comprising four overlapping circles. The iconic collection adapted its name from the Alhambra Palace in Spain, known for its remarkable architecture that includes expansive archways.
The first regal incarnation of the classic Alhambra style appeared in 1968 as the first Alhambra long necklace comprising 20 motifs in yellow gold, delicately fringed with golden beads. The success of the harmonious creation launched Alhambra throughout the world as a symbol of luck and an emblem of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Since then, the Alhambra collection has embraced innovation and the opportunity to showcase rare and precious materials alongside all the expertise of the High Jewellery Maison. The new Alhambra white gold guilloché set comprises a long necklace, a bracelet, a pendant, a ring, and a pair of earrings featuring the quintessential sunburst pattern of the intricate technique.
The time-honoured guilloché technique has been a hallmark of Van Cleef & Arpels since the 1910s when the guilloche initially adorned watch dials. Two decades later, the decorative style began appearing on boxes, powder cases and Minaudières, where precious metal interspersed with glittering stones.
The repetitive streaks grant a subtle relief on the surface of the white gold of the new pieces, intensifying the flow of light. True to the vintage style of the Alhambra collection, each delicate clover features a beaded contour and a central bead in white gold. Each piece calls on many forms of expertise. Lapidaries, jewellers, stone-setters, and polishers put their touch on refining each unique charm.
The intricate border takes shape at the hands of master jewellers before the prongs are bent down to hold the motifs in place. The piece is polished one last time to enhance the luminous appeal of the ensemble. No fewer than fifteen steps inform the craftsmanship process of each Alhambra creation, from selection to shaping and quality control. The result speaks for itself – iconic treasures fit to stand the test of time.
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