Van Cleef & Arpels

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Van Cleef & Arpels-designed crown of Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran. She wore the crown in 1967 coronation ceremony.

Van Cleef & Arpels is a French jewelry, watch, and perfume company.[1] It was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels in Paris. Their pieces often feature flowers, animals, and fairies, and have been worn by style icons such as Empress Farah,[2] the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor.[3]

History[edit]

Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law, Salomon Arpels, founded the company in 1896. In 1906, following Arpels’s death, Alfred and two of his brothers-in-law, Salomon and Julien, acquired space for Van Cleef & Arpels at 22 Place Vendôme, across from the Hôtel Ritz, where Van Cleef & Arpels opened its first boutique shop. The third Arpels brother, Louis, soon joined the company.

Van Cleef & Arpels opened boutiques in holiday resorts such as Deauville, Vichy, Le Touquet, Nice, and Monte-Carlo. In 1925, a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet with red and white roses fashioned from rubies and diamonds won the grand prize at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts.[4]

Alfred and Esther’s daughter, Renée (born Rachel) Puissant, assumed the company’s artistic direction in 1926. Puissant worked closely with draftsman René Sim Lacaze for the next twenty years.[4] Van Cleef & Arpels were the first French jewelers to open boutiques in Japan and China. Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. acquired the firm in 1999.

Boutiques[edit]

Van Cleef & Arpels has stores in the Middle East and South East Asia, with its products offered in standalone boutiques, boutiques within major department stores, and in independent stores. Standalone boutiques are located in Geneva, Milan, Shanghai, and Paris, where the company has multiple locations, including its flagship store at Place Vendôme.

In the United States, the company operates standalone boutiques in New York City, Beverly Hills, and Chicago. It also maintains stores in Naples, Palm Beach, and a seasonal location in Aspen. The Chicago boutique opened in 2001 at 636 North Michigan Avenue and moved to a larger location within the Drake Hotel in November 2011 while the New York City flagship store was redesigned in 2013.[5][6]

The Mystery Setting[edit]

On December 2, 1933, Van Cleef and Arpels received French Patent No. 764,966 for a proprietary gem setting style it calls Serti Mysterieux, or "Mystery Setting", a technique employing a setting where the prongs are invisible.[7] Each stone is faceted onto gold rails less than two-tenths of a millimeter thick. The technique can require 300 hours of work per piece or more, and only a few are produced each year.[8]

Chaumet received an English patent for a similar technique in 1904 as did Cartier in 1933, however neither used the process as extensively.[8]

Value[edit]

In 2010/2011, the company's estimated sales were €450 million in total sales and €45 million in watches.[1]

A 1936 Van Cleef & Arpels custom jewelry piece with a “Mystery Setting” sold for $326,500 during an auction at Christie's New York in 2009.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chevalier, Michel; Mazzalovo, Gerald (18 May 2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  2. ^ The Queen of Culture, The official website of Queen Farah
  3. ^ "Reflecting Personalities: Jewelry on the Famous and Its Impact on Design". New York: Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. 2011. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  4. ^ a b Serafin, Amy (Fall 2012). "The Family, The Jewels, The Legend". France Magazine. 
  5. ^ Lee, Chai (11 January 2011). "Rolex and Van Cleef Play Mich Ave Retail Space Musical Chairs". Chicago.racked.com. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  6. ^ "Blake Lively In Marchesa – Van Cleef & Arpels Celebrates The Redesigned New York 5th Avenue Flagship Maison". Red Carpet Fashion Awards. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  7. ^ "Innovation: The Mystery Setting". Van Cleef & Arpels. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  8. ^ a b Revy, Stephanie. "The Mystery Revealed – The Invisibly Set Gemstones of Van Cleef and Arpels". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  9. ^ Mulier, Thomas; Campbell, Keith (13 September 2009). "Hyperinflation Worries? Buy My Jewelry, Richemont’s Rupert Says". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 

External links[edit]