Between the 1930s and 1940s, the next generation of the family gradually replaced their father and uncle to inherit and continue the business of the brand. Julien’s three sons, Claude, Jacques, and Pierre Arpels, respectively, take on important positions in different markets around the world.
Van Cleef & Arpels and their memorable moments in jewelry making
Jacques as the Director of jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris, Pierre replaced the family to “acquire” the Eastern market when introducing the brand to Japan, and finally, ClaudeWith the support of two uncles, ventured to the United States because it was a great growth and expansion opportunity for the Arpels family business. The venture paid off for the brand when they finally opened stores outside of France, namely in Palm Beach (1940) and 5th Avenue – New York (1942).
Not long after the New York store opened, The Spirit of Beauty lapel design was born. The brooch is designed in the shape of a winged fairy and is seen as a symbol of hope. Also during this period, Maurice Divalent, the company’s chief designer at the time, created Van Cleef & Arpels ‘ iconic brooches depicting the iconic ballerinas.
It was also the first time that the dancing woman motif appeared in jewelry designs for the first time (in the 1940s), thanks to Louis Arpels ‘ love of ballet and the friendship between Maurice and his best friend – co-founder of the American Ballet School. However, it is also rumored that these signature brooches were inspired by flamenco dancers in the Lower East Side, New York.
In the first half of the 1950s, the French jewelry brand discerned that their customers had a need to “live” with jewelry more, not only at the ball but also in daily activities. Therefore, to enter a new era, the “La Boutique” line was launched in Paris in 1954 and is “coveted” by women for its friendly design and easy application to everyday style..
In the 50s and 60s, Van Cleef & Arpels continuously received important orders from the Royals of other countries. One of them was Prince Rainier of Monaco’s order with a beautiful diamond and pearl jewelry set as a wedding gift for Princess Grace Kelly.
Next is the task of creating a crown for the coronation 1967 of Queen Farrah Pahlavi of Iran. The order took the jeweler 11 months to complete with the final piece set with 6 emeralds, 36 rubies, 105 pearls, and 1,469 diamonds.
Also in 1967, the ballet Jewels, compiled by George Balanchine, premiered in New York. This artwork was inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels ‘ ballet brooch and is also a landmark collaboration project between George Balanchine and Claude Arpels. The three-act play, called Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds, with music by Fauré, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky, demonstrates the far-reaching influence contained in Van Cleef & Arpels ‘ designs.
Then, in 1968, the iconic jewelry collection inspired by the four-leaf clover Van Cleef & Arpels – Alhambra was born with designs embellished with a number of stones such as mother-of-pearl, turquoise, and diamonds. Diamond, agate, and carnelian… To this day, the Alhambra is still being produced as one of the brand’s mainstream collections with an annual holiday limited edition.
In the ’70s, when jewelry became one of the mediums that reflected what was happening around the world with the use of coral, malachite and turquoise in designs, Van Cleef & Arpels also quickly caught up with the trend when launching a special collection honoring Christmas roses called Rose de Noel. In this collection, the jeweler used diamonds and pink coral inlay methods to create floral motifs with a unique beauty that fascinates women’s hearts.
In the ’80s, Van Cleef & Arpels continued to use its jewelry masterpieces to mirror trends with the Col Claudine necklace creation. Designed as a collar woven from gold threads and embellished with sparkling diamond flower details.
At the end of the 90s, Richemont, the Swiss Tobacco, and Luxury Goods Group bought a 60% stake in the company in 1999. The remaining 40% was divided between an Italian company and its heirs. by Monsieur Claude Arpels . Then in 2001, the Richemont Group bought an additional 20% of the company’s shares, and by 2003 they became the fuller owners of the Van Cleef & Arpels brand.
Celebrating the new beginning of the 3rd millennium, the jeweler from France has created a Mystery Set™ ( Serti Mysterieux) double clip jewelry with 2 flower sets with rubies and a diamond with 5 pear-shaped diamonds mounted on the stigma.
In 2003, the brand launched the Frivole® collection with floral designs emphasizing graphic aesthetics. The mirror-like gold finish gives the heart-shaped petals a unique sheen while paired with an asymmetrical composition that demonstrates Van’s superb craftsmanship and talent for bringing life and movement to life. Cleef & Arpels into its jewelry creations.
The next chapter of Van Cleef & Arpels, from 2010 to the present, pays tribute to the jeweler’s haute couture as well as the jeweler’s beginnings with artistic collaborations.
The École des Arts Joailliers was founded in 2012 with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels with the aim of introducing the jewelry world to the public through courses, conferences, and exhibitions. Each École des Arts Joailliers course will interpret three themes: the history of the art of jewelry, savoir-faire, and the world of gems.
2013 marked the collaboration of Van Cleef & Arpels and French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied with his troupe LA Dance Project. Benjamin with the LA Dance Project choreographed an original piece inspired by an encounter with Van Cleef & Arpels. Titled Reflections, this ballet is the first of a trilogy, Gems, followed by Hearts & Arrows and On the Other Side in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
In 2016, Van Cleef & Arpels expanded its footprint at Place Vendôme when it opened a store at 20 Place Vendôme. The site was established by the jeweler to open the Heritage Gallery dedicated to temporary exhibitions of classical works. The three houses numbers 20, 22, and 24 Place Vendôme have since become Les Salons Vendôme of the Van Cleef & Arpels brand.
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