An eternal inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels, the floral world has played an integral role in the Parisian 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, gem-setters and polishers come together to breathe life into intricate creations, be it artfully capturing the freshness of a bouquet or interpreting the gentle curves of a peony’s petals in precious stones 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 distinctive graphic yet airy aesthetic. Featuring heart-shaped petals in mirror-polished gold or diamond pavé, the luminous blooms play on light and reflection, 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, there is a charming yet bold Between the Finger ring, a small-model pendant and earrings.
Great attention to detail is applied to both sides of each jewel with a combination of traditional techniques. Illuminating every piece is the openwork technique, whereby 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 paved diamond surfaces, bringing them to life and underlining the graphic lines of the pieces.
Introduced to the Frivole collection last year, 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 diamonds and the precious metal’s warm shade.
Enhancing the delightful collection are the Between the Finger ring as well as the small-model pendant and earrings. Intricate diamond settings amplify the brilliance of these pieces, especially the slightly curved, heart-shaped petals unfolding gently around a diamond pistil.
Reminiscent of blossoming flowers, the small-model pendant and earrings display an enchanting glimmer that is the result of grain setting, in which diamonds secured with tiny prongs or “beads” pave the entire gold surface and optimise the sparkle of the stones.
The whimsical Between the Finger ring flaunts two flowers of different sizes set at the ends of an open band. Subtly inclined corollas and the differing heights of each bloom catch the light beautifully, with each petal glinting to the movement of the wearer’s hand. Emblematic of the signature Van Cleef & Arpels style, the piece’s unexpected asymmetry infuses it with an exuberance that recalls nature’s awakening in spring.
To celebrate this expression of nature’s vitality, the maison once again collaborates with French artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet, who was the winner of the Grand Prix Design Parade Toulon Van Cleef & Arpels 2017. This time, the partnership has resulted in a series of short films that pay tribute to Frivole’s graphic petals. Adopting the visual feel of a sketchbook that is awash with colour, the concept develops Navet’s earlier decoration for the windows of Van Cleef & Arpels’ boutiques, which featured a joyful blend of oil pastel drawings, architecture and the house’s creations.
(All images: Van Cleef & Arpels)
This story first appeared in the August 2021 issue of Prestige Singapore.