Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels is a French jewellery and watch designer that was founded in 1896 by Salomon Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef. The history of Van Cleef & Arpels is one of fairy tales. It had romantic beginnings when Alfred Van Cleef, a jeweller who specialised in cutting gemstones, married Estelle Arpels, the daughter of Salomon, in 1896. Their marriage saw the start of a famous jewellery business which has become a worldwide success.
The trademark “Van Cleef & Arpels” was registered in 1906 and the company’s first boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris was opened. This was one of wealthiest areas of the beautiful city and a popular shopping area for the aristocracy and the nouveau riche. Before long, Estelle’s brothers, Julian, Charles, and Louis brought their skills to the firm and the company established another boutique in Nice. Eventually Van Cleef & Arpels had stores in New York and London and now the company has stores all over the world.
Van Cleef & Arpels were soon noted for their high quality gemstones of many colours and became renowned for their expertise in precious stones. They have also won particular acclaim for a groundbreaking gem-setting procedure known as the Mystery Setting. The company liked to use coloured gems in jewellery designs based on themes from stories, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or themes from nature. These were often shapes of butterflies or dragonflies.
The name of Van Cleef & Arpels is synonymous with luxury and prestige and is highly regarded by royals and celebrities. The company’s prestige stems from a long list of prominent commissions issued by royal and imperial courts, financiers and industrial magnates, which have enabled Van Cleef & Arpels to be active today not only in Europe and the United States, but also in Asia and the Middle East.
A Van Cleef & Arpels sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1960. Known sapphire weight 15.40cts. Sapphire of Ceylon origin. Estimated total diamond weight 0.40cts. Stamped 3238 SO VCA NY.
£12,000 - £18,000