Van Cleef & Arpels Mark 50 Years with New Alhambra interpretation
Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra, one of the jewellery world’s most enduringly popular ranges, turns 50. Here are the new new additions. Half century of Alhambra jewellery was celebrated on the lawns of the French consulate in Marrakech, at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, La Mamounia Hotel, and at the Moroccan El Badi Palace.
In 1968, Van Cleef & Arpels creates the first Alhambra long necklace, combining yellow gold with the delicate lines of the famous motif. More than a jewel, Alhambra becomes the Maison’s emblematic icon of luck, a timeless family that stands out from all the others.
The different skills of the lapidaries, jewelers, stone-setters and polishers come together during the successive steps of selection, production and final checking to bring the iconic Alhambra jewels to life.
Reflecting Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of excellence, Alhambra is constantly renewed as time goes by, through a wide range of natural materials that are symbols of luck, thus offering an infinite variety of colors.
Created in 2006 by Van Cleef & Arpels, the Magic Alhambra jewelry creations gather different-sized Alhambra motifs, coming together in a joyful dance. Inspired by the clover leaf, their asymmetric designs feature different associations of materials: yellow gold, onyx, malachite. Mother-of-pearl is a material dear to the Maison. It presents harmonious nuances and a luster of the highest quality.
Faithful to the very first Alhambra jewel created in 1968, the Vintage Alhambra creations by Van Cleef & Arpels are distinguished by their unique, timeless elegance. Inspired by the same clover leaf, these icons of luck are adorned with a border of golden beads.
“But after watching a demonstration of the tiny trefoils being cut by hand from semi-precious stones and seeing the green garden of the French consul in Marrakesh, hosting a dressing-up tent containing an archive of the era’s hippie de luxe clothes from Paco Rabanne’s metallic weaves to Yves Saint Laurent’s desert fatigues, I became convinced that jewellery, like fashion, can tell a story of its time,” commented Suzy Menkes.
“It’s not necessarily about celebrating an anniversary, but it’s still quite symbolic: 50 years of continuous existence of a collection,” Nicolas Bos, CEO and Design Director of Van Cleef & Arpels, told vogue.
“I wanted to take you back to look at the archives, the history and also the research: how and when the Alhambra motif was created, its influence and how the jewellery has remained relevant throughout 50 years of changes – social and in style and design,” said the director. “And to review for us, for our clients and the industry, what is the meaning of this day-wear jewellery.”