An eternal inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels, the floral world has played an integral role in the French jeweller’s repertoire since its founding in 1906. The maison has encapsulated the ephemeral beauty of flora – its infinite shades, forms and nuances – imbuing jewellery pieces with exuberance and poetic grace.
The savoir faire of jewellers, stone-setters and polishers come together to breathe life into the intricate creations, artfully capturing the freshness of a bouquet or interpreting the gentle curves of a peony’s petals in precious gemstones and gold.
Presented in 2003 as a contemporary depiction of floral designs reimagined from Van Cleef & Arpels’ archives, the Frivole collection stands out with its distinctively graphic yet airy aesthetic. Featuring heart- shaped petals in mirror-polished gold or diamond pavé, the luminous blooms play on light and reflections, as if dancing in the gentle spring breeze on a sunny day.
Unfurling more corollas this year are six new Frivole iterations in rose gold and diamonds. A pair of earrings, pendant and bracelet – all in mini- model versions – punctuate the silhouette with glittering round diamonds of various sizes. Additionally, a charming yet bold Between the Finger ring, small-sized pendant and earrings light up the skin with a brilliant gleam.
Great attention to detail is applied to both sides of each jewel with the use of a combination of traditional techniques. Magnifying each piece is openwork, in which the maison’s craftsman makes perforations on the gold structure to enable light to pass through the diamonds and intensify their sparkle. Delicately polished gold threads and bezels highlight the paved diamond surfaces, bringing them to life and underlining the graphic lines of the pieces.
Introduced to the Van Cleef & Arpels Frivole collection last year, the warm shade of rose gold illuminates and adds radiance to the face, neckline and wrist. Dainty mini-model earrings form a delicate set with the matching pendant, which can be subtly complemented by a chain bracelet accented with a single floral motif. Adorning the centre and contour of each petal on a mini-model piece is a thin gold thread that adds visual interest, while highlighting the harmony of the precious metal and diamonds.
Adding to the delightful collection’s luminous aesthetic are the Between the Finger ring, and small-sized pendant and earrings. Intricate diamond settings heighten the gleam of these pieces, which in turn amplify the brilliance of the slightly curved, heart-shaped petals that unfold gently around a diamond pistil.
Reminiscent of freshly blossoming flowers, diamond-set petals illuminate a pair of earrings and a pendant with a soft glimmer. The precious glisten of each piece is the result of grain setting, where diamonds are secured with tiny prongs or “beads” designed to pave the entire surface and optimise the brilliance of stones.
The Between the Finger ring combines two flowers of different sizes around an open band. Subtly inclined corollas and the differing heights of each bloom catch the light beautifully, each petal glinting as the hand moves. Emblematic of the Van Cleef & Arpels style, the unexpected asymmetry of the piece infuses it with a vitality that recalls nature’s awakening in spring.
To celebrate the vitality of nature, Van Cleef & Arpels and Alexandre Benjamin Navet (French multidisciplinary artist and winner of the Grand Prix Design Parade Toulon Van Cleef & Arpels 2017) collaborate once again to create a series of short films that pay tribute to the collection’s graphic petals. Recreating a sketchbook feel awash with colour, the concept develops Navet’s earlier decoration for the windows of Van Cleef & Arpels’ boutiques that featured a joyful blend of oil pastel drawings, architecture and the maison’s creations.
(All images: Van Cleef & Arpels)
This story was first published Prestige Malaysia’s August 2021 issue. To read the latest issue, pick up a copy from the nearest newsstand or subscribe on Magzter.