Flowers, fairies and ballerinas—it seems that Van Cleef & Arpels is a master in crafting delicate jewellery with a touch of magic.
Van Cleef & Arpels have always been renowned for their penchant for the art of ballet. There is something poetic in this age-old dance discipline—the flair, the feminine figures, the fluidity of the motion—elements which the Maison High Jewellery so finely captures.
The Maison’s ballerina jewellery has, in fact, always been an integral part of their history, dating back to the 1920s when founder Louis Arpels would frequent Opéra Garnier with his nephew to enjoy the dance performances. In the early 1940s, Arpels’ love for ballet materialised as the jeweller’s first ballerina clips and became one of the jeweller’s most celebrated creations. The tiny dancers stand out with their gold bodies, jewelled tutu and point shoes with designs that change over time to reflect the cultural influences Van Cleef & Arpels drew from across the world.
Bringing Van Cleef & Arpels’ close ties with ballet back to life, the Ballet Précieux High Jewellery collection was introduced in 2006. Stylised pieces and figures are created with precious stones and creased gold, with tutus fashioned by the Mains d’Or to reflect the textures and costumes suggestive of famous suites such as The Nutcracker, The Firebird, Les Sylphides and Swan Lake.
This year, the collection is evocative of classical and romantic ballets, with the High Jewellery ballerina clips swathed in emeralds, diamonds and rubies, respectively. Each clip seems to capture a ballerina in motion, their swirling figures frozen in mid-air, the graceful gestures and costume accentuated by the gleam of precious stones.
Meanwhile, the Maison’s Bouton d’Or collection brings new interpretations to its heritage. Bringing more graphic elements to the archived ‘paillette’ motif, the new Bouton d’Or ballerina clip stands out with radiant colours from the turquoise and the deep midnight blue of lapis lazuli. Other elements, such as the polished yellow gold body and the figurine’s pure lines, echo its High Jewellery ballerinas and timepiece predecessors. However, most unique to the ‘paillete’ motif is the three-dimensional effect of the ballerina’s skirt, which unfurls in dazzling layers, making the figure and its skirt seemingly come to life.
For more information, visit Van Cleef & Arpels.
(All images: Van Cleef & Arpels)