All you have to know about the restyling of ALHAMBRA Van Cleef & Arpels

Jewellery

All you have to know about the restyling of ALHAMBRA Van Cleef & Arpels

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In 1968, the Maison unveiled a true icon of luck: the Alhambra® collection. Inspired by the four-leaf clover, its motif has endured, embodying the timeless style of Van Cleef & Arpels and the excellence of its savoir-faire. Fifty years after the creation of the first Alhambra long necklace, the Maison is presenting new creations that showcase the fluidity and elegance of the design. The iridescence of gray mother-ofpearl is complemented by the sparkle of diamonds and the gentle glow of pink gold, while the deep black of onyx combines with white gold and diamonds. Alongside these dazzling associations of materials, two exceptional models are adorned with lapis lazuli and two others with rock crystal, in homage to the beauty of the stones that have embellished the collection throughout its history.

“To be lucky, you have to believe in luck,” as Jacques Arpels – Estelle Arpels’ nephew – used to say. Luck is a quality that the Maison holds dear, guiding its footsteps and inspiring some of its most emblematic creations. Four-leaf clovers made their first appearance in Van Cleef & Arpels’ records in the 1920s. Throughout the years, they mingled with wooden talismans, lucky charms and benevolent fairies. A born collector, Jacques Arpels gathered four-leaf clovers in the garden of his house in Germigny-l’Évêque, presenting them to his staff accompanied by the American poem “Don’t Quit”, an encouragement to never give up hope.

Numerous feminine personalities adopted this new icon, which blended timeless elegance with a contemporary feel. In 1974, Françoise Hardy was photographed wearing Alhambra creations: two long necklaces graced the neck of the French singer. The collection also attracted such exceptional actresses as Romy Schneider, who notably wore an Alhambra long necklace in Michel Deville’s film Le Mouton Enragé. Set with diverse materials, the Alhambra long necklace took on a multitude of guises in Princess Grace of Monaco’s collection. Alternately in yellow gold, coral, lapis lazuli or malachite, this emblematic creation accompanied the elegant Princess throughout the 1970s in various public and private occasions.

In homage to the palette of materials that has enriched the Alhambra collection over the years, the Maison is unveiling four exceptional models, available in small quantities. These pieces in yellow gold showcase lapis lazuli and diamonds on the one hand, and rock crystal on the other. Made up of a Vintage Alhambra long necklace and bracelet, the creations reveal two distinct styles, founded either on contrast or limpid clarity. The deep blue of lapis lazuli is enhanced by the sun-like radiance of yellow gold and the clarity of diamonds, while rock crystal creates subtle interplays of transparency, illuminated by yellow gold.

Fifty years after the creation of the first Alhambra® long necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels is teaming up with author and journalist Nicholas Foulkes, as well as the Editions Xavier Barral publishing house, for a look back on the emergence of this iconic collection.

Created in the late 1960s – a decade that revolutionized fashion and society as a whole – the first Alhambra long necklace immediately appealed to women. Celebrities and sophisticates wore it, layered it and wrapped it in manifold colorful rows. The pages of Alhambra tell this fabulous story, a tale intimately linked to the creation of the modern silhouette. Presenting documents from the archives of the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels and key “cinematographic” sequences composed by distinguished photographers, the book recounts the influence of the new lifestyles that characterized those years, with the Alhambra collection as a perfect reflection of the period.