Making Waves

Van Cleef & Ar­pels goes for beau­ti­ful, wear­able lux­ury with its lat­est col­lec­tion, Seven Seas, writes Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

The rhyth­mic rolling of sparkling waves ren­dered bril­liantly in a di­a­mond neck­lace, a stream of white pearl bub­bles forming an el­e­gant bracelet, and a brooch bear­ing a sparkling mer­maid perched on a chal­cedony reef are just some of the spec­tac­u­lar pieces that Van Cleef & Ar­pels has cre­ated as part of its first cruise col­lec­tion, Seven Seas.

The Place Vendôme jew­eller wanted to cap­ture the spirit of fash­ion’s re­sort lines with lux­u­ri­ous yet wear­able pieces that can be worn while trav­el­ling. Ac­cord­ing to Van Cleef & Ar­pels CEO Ni­co­las Bos, the jewels in the col­lec­tion are lighter, eas­ier to wear and more com­fort­able than the mai­son’s usual high jew­ellery. “The def­i­ni­tion of high jew­ellery doesn’t only ap­ply to ex­cep­tional, some­times very over­whelm­ing pieces; it is also a cat­e­gory that can in­cor­po­rate jew­ellery that is more wear­able and less for­mal,” he says.

The mai­son is the first haute joail­lerie brand to ex­press a de­sire to of­fer more ac­ces­si­ble pieces and to high­light—us­ing fash­ion terms—re­sort style rather than haute cou­ture. Ac­cord­ing to Bos, the ob­jec­tive was to cre­ate pieces at the same level of crafts­man­ship and tech­nique as high jew­ellery, but with de­signs that can be ap­pre­ci­ated more and worn fre­quently rather than end up liv­ing in safes. “It is very im­por­tant for us to con­vey

this mes­sage be­cause high jew­ellery is of­ten seen through a lens of amaze­ment,” says Bos. “But it is very im­por­tant that high jew­ellery is rel­e­vant for not just 200 peo­ple in this world, but for many more.”

The theme, Seven Seas, was meant to stretch Van Cleef & Ar­pels’ de­sign­ers’ imag­i­na­tions, from the warm wa­ters of the Pa­cific to the chilly depths of the At­lantic. For colo­nial-era sailors, cross­ing the seven seas meant achiev­ing the unimag­in­able feat of trav­el­ling to the world’s end and back again. Bos ex­plains that dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages and the Re­nais­sance, peo­ple were just be­gin­ning their ex­plo­rations of the earth through its oceans, and no one really knew if mer­maids or other sea crea­tures were real. The theme was de­vel­oped around the idea that travel is as much a part of your imag­i­na­tion as it is a re­al­ity.

It’s ap­par­ent that Van Cleef & Ar­pels is re­defin­ing the bound­aries of high jew­ellery, not via hun­dreds of carats of pre­cious stones, but through a com­bi­na­tion of de­sign, in­spi­ra­tion and crafts­man­ship. “In­no­va­tion is at the heart of the work­shop,” says Bos. “What’s es­sen­tial for us is this per­ma­nent search for im­prove­ment and ex­cel­lence, ex­pressed through tech­niques like the Mystery set­ting. We’ve cre­ated two types of the Mystery set­ting that are ac­tu­ally quite dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal one, both patented. The one that we are us­ing in this col­lec­tion to cre­ate the Sirène Mys­térieuse clip is like stained glass—a dou­ble-faced set­ting that you can see from the front and the back, the stones seem­ingly held by magic.”

High lev­els of tech­nique and at­ten­tion to de­tail have al­lowed Van Cleef & Ar­pels to evolve through the years. The mai­son is still an ex­pert at telling sto­ries with jew­ellery, though, and Seven Seas is no ex­cep­tion—with more than 350 pieces show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent

THE THEME, SEVEN SEAS, WAS MEANT TO STRETCH VAN CLEEF & AR­PELS’ DE­SIGN­ERS’ IMAG­I­NA­TIONS, FROM THE WARM WA­TERS OF THE PA­CIFIC TO THE CHILLY DEPTHS OF THE AT­LANTIC

sea crea­tures, wave shapes and the move­ment of the oceans, while making use of var­i­ous types of fin­ishes, set­tings and cuts.

There are many brooches in the col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing the Vagues Mys­térieuses clip, which is shaped like rolling waves, with Mystery-set sap­phires forming the wa­ter and the edges set with di­a­monds, sap­phires and Paraíba­like tour­ma­lines. The Étoile des Mer clip is a starfish in pink gold with pink sap­phires and di­a­monds, and the Trois Tortues clip fea­tures three di­a­mond-set tur­tles with mother-of­pearl shells swim­ming on a cur­rent of white gold and di­a­monds.

The Red Sea is best rep­re­sented by the Co­quil­lage Mys­térieux ring, which is set with ru­bies and di­a­monds forming a shell­fish, while the Black Sea range in­cludes the Rose des Vents long neck­lace and time­piece, de­signed with di­a­monds, black spinels, sap­phires and onyx beads mixed with pearls.

A breath­tak­ing piece from the Mediter­ranean Sea range is the Fla­mant Corail neck­lace and ear­rings with di­a­monds, pink sap­phires, peri­dot, and pink and red co­ral, while from the Caspian Sea comes the Bleu Ab­solu neck­lace with a 14.22-carat pear-shaped D-coloured in­ter­nally flaw­less di­a­mond and five sap­phire drops weigh­ing a to­tal of 85.86 carats.

A fas­ci­nat­ing se­lec­tion of jew­ellery, Seven Seas is a lively and joy­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of na­ture’s rich­ness and di­ver­sity—in bril­liant, wear­able form.

SEA SIRENS From left: Mod­els wear the La­gune Pré­cieuse neck­lace and ear­rings; Fla­mant Corail neck­lace and ear­rings; and Pangée di­a­mond neck­lace and ear­rings, Fleur des Mers ring and Mert de Vent brooch, all by Van Cleef & Ar­pels

OCEAN’S DEPTHS Clock­wise from far left: La­gune Pré­cieuse ear­rings with di­a­monds, sap­phires and aquamarines; Pangée di­a­mond neck­lace; Ancône turquoise and emer­ald ring; Mer des Étoiles sap­phire and di­a­mond ring

GEM ARTISTRY Clock­wise from top left: Stone set­ting on the Fla­mant Corail neck­lace; il­lus­tra­tions of the Sirène Mys­térieuse clip and Co­quil­lage Mys­térieux ruby ring; Fla­mant Corail ear­rings; Goutte de Spinelle ring with 14.34 carat spinel; Vagues Mys­térieuses clip

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