The vivid history of van Cleef & Arpels – France’s most jewelry empire

The vivid history of van Cleef & Arpels – France's most jewelry empire

For nearly a century, “Van Cleef & Arpels” has been a synonym for high-end French jewelry. If you’ve ever watched the series Bling Empire or Dubai Bling, you will easily see in the hands of female billionaires creations inspired by this jeweler’s fairy garden.

The vivid history of van Cleef & Arpels – France’s most jewelry empire

From the early days of its establishment, Van Cleef & Arpels has affirmed its position in the “arena” of high-end Art Deco style jewelry and has become a jewelry supplier for a series of prestigious guests such as Hoang Gia and Hoang Gia. Queen Farah Pahlavi, Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, or female star Elizabeth Taylor.

More than just a story between a jeweler and his passion for gems, Van Cleef & Arpels is the “sweet fruit” of the fateful love affair between Estelle Arpels – the daughter of a gem merchant. and Alfred Van Cleef – son of a stone mason. The couple’s love story blossomed in the heart of the magnificent Paris – the land known as the “city of love”.

With similar innovation and passion for gems, the two quickly married in 1895 in Paris, ushering in the beginnings of the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelers empire .– where the “&” has become a permanent link, symbolizing the union of individuals and expertise as well as the excellence and poetry that distinguishes the brand’s creations.

Shortly after the wedding, Alfred teamed up with Estelle’s brother Charles to create the Van Cleef & Arpels brand. Eleven years later, Alfred and Charles opened the brand’s first boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris, and have never left this legendary address. The location quickly attracted European aristocrats who loved Van Cleef & Arpel’s creations, thereby helping to popularize the jeweler’s timeless jewelry pieces to the world.

Following the success of the first store, thanks to its unique jewelry designs, Estelle’s other brothers Julien and Louis also joined Van Cleef & Arpels ‘ business, helping to accelerate the brand’s growth. rapidly develop and open more chain stores in resort locations across France. All family members have a talent for neutralizing each other and cooperating well in business. Up to now, the brand is still inherited by family members.

With each passing decade, jewelers, enthusiasts, and even the most demanding gem “players” are convinced and admired by the unique jewelry masterpieces created. by the endless creativity and master craftsmanship of the Van Cleef & Arpels family.

1920 – 1930

In the 1920s, Van Cleef & Arpels began making Art Deco-style jewelry, including geometric designs using diamonds, precious stones, and platinum. Three years later, Van Cleef & Arpels released its first secret watch in platinum and diamonds. Two years later, the watch was awarded the Grand Prize at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris for its Roses design inlaid with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.

By 1926, Alfred and Estelle’s daughter, Renée Puissant, took the reins to “sharpen” designs as the brand’s Creative Director. Together with designer René-Sim Lacaze, the two created a distinct, recognizable style for Van Cleef & Arpels with their boldness and limitless imagination. Under the leadership of the duo Renée and René-Sim, the iconic designs of the French jeweler such as the Cadenas watch model, the Ludo bracelet, etc. were quickly born and resonated in the “universe” of the page. premium power.

In 1930, Van Cleef & Arpels created the first minaudière (a small women’s make-up compartment divider purse with a metal frame structure, which uses a locking clip or a small detail on the lid to reset it), which is supposedly inspired by Florence Jay Gould’s need for a luxury box that could hold her comb, lipstick, cigarettes, and compact items.

Then, on December 2, 1933, the famous jeweler received a patent for the Mystery Set™ Technique ( Serti Mysterieux) – a real feat in jewelry making that allowed the setting of precious stones (Serti Mysterieux). rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds) without visible barbs or other metallic compositions, symbolizing the unrivaled expertise of the duo “R” and Van Cleef & Arpels.

In 1938, the Van Cleef & Arpels family once again shocked the jewelry industry with the introduction of the Passe-Partout necklace – the world’s first transformative piece of jewelry. Passe-Partout means “Master Key”. The metal rail system is hidden under two flower clips and operates based on a special innovative technique that allows the owner to customize the way of wearing it according to the mood and liking.

For example, from an original necklace into an opera necklace, bracelet, or belt or using two flower clips into brooches, earrings or brooches, .. Masterpiece of jewelry Passe-Partout has been patented in 1938 and helped Cleef & Arpels affirms its position in the jewelry making world.

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