Van Cleef & Arpels has always found inspiration in the unique energy of love, as it was this emotion that brought the Maison into being. It began towards the end of the 19th century, when Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a dealer in precious stones, met Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a stone cutter. In 1895, they married with a bond established through youthful enthusiasm, a pioneering spirit, an ethic of family solidarity and a passion for precious stones. Their desire to create something lasting led to the foundation of Van Cleef & Arpels. Over the years, the love they infused into their creations led to a journey that became synonymous with the most exquisite jewellery in the world. Sharon Carvalho finds out how their love led to the creation of a collection that blended tradition and modernity
The style of the Bouton d’or collection finds its roots in the Paillette motif, which first appeared in the Maison’s archives in 1939. During the 1940s, the pastille of yellow gold was gathered together to form dazzling rings or strung up to create opulent double necklaces. They were even brought to three dimensional life in the skirts of the ballerina created by the house. And through the 1950s, it complemented the feminine trends of the era with fluid creations and flexible lines that echoed the world of couture.
Inspired by this rich heritage, the Bouton d’or collection brought diamonds, gold, mother-of-pearl and precious stones together through bold creations. Holding on to the feminine and graphic nature of the motif, the reinterpretation is an array of combinations, volume and colours.
The Maison enhances the expertise required to bring the collection to life through meticulous selection of materials and delicately matched motifs. For the hard stones, the homogeneity and vivacity of colour
and luminosity and depth was key. The mother-of-pearl offers a regular surface and luster, and the diamonds are of the highest quality. Hand polished to magnify their radiance, the pastilles are carefully matched
for colour, opacity and overtones of the materials, to create the perfect symphony.
To create the collection calls for an exceptional degree of precision, meticulousness and technical skill. Gold pieces are shaped by hand and then polished to reveal the glitter of the precious metal and preserve the form of the motif. To illuminate the different materials used, each pastille is adorned with a diamond at the center. And finally, to ensure suppleness and flexibility, each motif is carefully attached by hand, sometimes up to one thousand pieces, to guarantee that it meets quality and finish standards.
The final creation is a harmony characterised by the bold association of materials and the delicate hand of expertise that come together to create a timeless aesthetic. One that is unique to Van Cleef & Arpels as it
resonates with the inspiration of eras.