As any ardent high jewellery collector would know, Van Cleef & Arpels isn’t just home to some of the world’s most storied jewels; it’s also a leader in technical mastery. Eleven years has passed since the inception of its first Perlée creation, an iconic collection that draws on the French maison’s signature gold beading. This year’s offering is a testament to Van Cleef & Arpels’ flair for innovation and craftsmanship.
While transformable jewellery may have gain popularity over the years, it has always been part of the Van Cleef & Arpels’ DNA — its earliest offerings date back to the 1930s. The new Perlée range has a new addition to the transformable jewellery collection: A necklace that lends itself to multiple combinations. On a long yellow gold chain hangs a pendant made up of three rings of different sizes. The ring in the middle can be replaced by another that’s adorned with sky-blue turquoise, summery coral, or deep black onyx beads.
The crowning jewel, however, are the “secret” watches — a first for the Perlée collection. Doubling up as a bracelet and timepiece, the first “secret” watch features two motifs of different sizes which sit across each other on one open-arm bangle. Slide the larger motif to one side and it reveals a mother-of-pearl dial surrounded by round diamonds. Available in three styles and imbued with the Perlée’s playful spirit, two of the designs feature a play on colour, with green malachite as a striking juxtaposition to the coral motif and pink gold bracelet, and deep blue lapis lazuli which highlights the brilliant diamonds and yellow gold of the other. The third one fuses rose gold and diamonds.
Another version of the watch comes in the form of a rose gold and diamond pendant watch. Slide the paved surface aside to reveal a discreet dial, and you can also wear it as a necklace.
Like all Van Cleef & Arpels creations, the Perlée collection is another showcase of its sterling craftsmanship. Creating transformable jewellery involves a high level of technical complexity, and the Perlée range is a testament to the atelier’s savoir-faire. Take for example the gold beading. Every bead is individually worked by hand and polished until it gleams, and it’s a remarkable showcase of its craftsmanship.
That’s not all. The creation of the Perlée “secret” watches also bring together two craft traditions. The gold structure of the watches and pendants are created in French workshops while the dials and movements are put together in Switzerland’s Meyrin.
Romancing the stones
As if the technical wizardry isn’t enough to win you over, Van Cleef & Arpels only use stones of the highest quality. Making their debuts in the Perlée collection are three jewellery sets that include a pendant, ring and a pair of earrings. These cabochons of hard stones include combinations of yellow gold and malachite, rose gold and carnelian, white gold and turquoise. Rare stones featured here include a rich, deep blue lapiz lazuli sprinkled with pyrite, and a smooth coral.
Besides stunning gemstones, the brilliance of the diamonds is scintillating in the diamonds collections. Only the top-notch quality diamonds are picked, with the highest criteria of D to F for colour ,and IF to VVS for clarity. The diamond rings, for instance, feature a row of diamonds surrounded by beads and sparkle beautifully thanks to openwork gold structures that allow plenty of the light to pass through.
All photos are courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels.