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Van Cleef & Arpels

One of the world’s foremost jewelry houses, Van Cleef & Arpels is particularly noted for a focus on technical virtuosity, craftsmanship and artistry, evident since its beginning. Rather than create earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other adornments primarily for the aim of displaying of wealth and opulence, Van Cleef & Arpels sought to produce jewelry that projected the wearer’s taste and style.

The company was formed a year after the 1895 marriage of Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a gem cutter, to Estelle Arpels, daughter of precious-stones dealer Salomon Arpel. Ten years later, Van Cleef & Arpels opened its first boutique on the Place Vendôme in Paris, setting the march on a square now crowded with dealers in bijouterie. (The company still occupies the New York flagship store opened in 1939 at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.)

Born from a union of expertise in both jewelry making and gem selection, the Van Cleef & Arpels distinguished itself with both the consistency of the color and clarity of its stones and the creativity of its designs. In doing so, the house would win a roster of dedicated, fashion-conscious clients that included the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Hutton, Jacqueline Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1933, Van Cleef & Arpels patented its trademark Mystery Setting — a technique by which gems are fitted into an intricate matrix of slots and “drawers” that keep the setting hidden. Another signal innovation was the Zip necklace, introduced in 1951, which can be worn either around the neck or, with the zipper closed, as a bracelet.

But as much as to the firm’s craftsmanship, clients have been drawn by the insouciance and playfulness of Van Cleef & Arpels designers, as well as their attunement to the cultural climate. After the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, the company produced several lavish pieces featuring hieroglyphics and other Egyptian motifs to go along with the geometric Art Deco jewelry of that decade and the next. Following World War II, as symbols of freedom and rebirth, the firm focused on naturalistic forms such as birds, flowers, fruit and flying insects. High society’s 1960s fascination with the Near East and India prompted such pieces as the best-selling Alhambra necklace, popularized by Princess Grace.

Lately, attention among collectors and connoisseurs has centered on Van Cleef & Arpels’s quality of workmanship as much as its glamour. The firm was the subject of a 2012 show at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as well as exhibitions at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, in 2013 and at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2014.

Find an exquisite collection of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$10,752
Styles
Iconic Designs from Van Cleef & Arpels
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Vintage Alhambra Ring
Vintage Alhambra Ring
Vintage Alhambra Pendant
Vintage Alhambra Pendant
Vintage Alhambra Necklace
Vintage Alhambra Necklace
Magic Alhambra Necklace
Magic Alhambra Necklace
Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Lapis Lazuli Yellow Gold Butterfly Pendant Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in New York, NY
This iconic Van Cleef & Arpels necklace is crafted in 18k yellow gold and features a butterfly shaped pendant suspended from a link chain and accented with blue lapis lazuli wings an...
Category

1970s Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, Lapis Lazuli, Yellow Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Porcelain Limited Edition Alhambra Rose Gold Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Banbury, GB
18K Rose Gold Limited Edition Alhambra Diamond And Pink Porcelain Necklace was released in 2015 Christmas as the holiday pendant. VCA doesn't create this version anymore, a truly col...
Category

2010s Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, 18k Gold, Rose Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Lucky Alhambra Butterfly Pendant Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in New York, NY
Authentic Van Cleef & Arpels 'Lucky Alhambra' pendant necklace crafted in 18 karat yellow gold features a single butterfly motif set with carved mother-of-pearl. The adjustable chai...
Category

2010s Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond White Gold Vintage Alhambra Braceletx
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Feasterville, PA
An iconic Van Cleef Arpels diamond bracelet from the Vintage Alhambra collection carefully set with 2.42ct appx of finest round brilliant cut diamonds in shimmering 18k white gold. T...
Category

2010s Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, White Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Scallop Shell Vintage Earrings in 18K Gold
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Dallas, TX
Van Cleef & Arpels dazzling vintage scallop shell-shape earrings showcasing approximately 3 carats of finest white diamonds and set in 18 karat yellow gold. The scallop shape gracefu...
Category

Late 20th Century Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Frivole 8 Flower Diamond Yellow Gold Ring
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Holland, PA
18k Yellow Gold Frijole 8 Flower Diamond Ring by Van Cleef & Arpels. With 8 brilliant round cut diamond VVS1 clarity, E color total weight approximately .43ct Details: Weight: 1...
Category

2010s Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, Yellow Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Mother of Pearl 18k White Gold 5 Motif Bracelet
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Miami, FL
Designer:  Van Cleef & Arpels Collection:  Vintage Alhambra Style:  Bracelet Metal Type: White Gold Metal Purity: 18k Bracelet Length : 7 inches Total Item  Weight(Grams): XX ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

White Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Multi Color Diamond Earrings 3.18tcw 18k White Gold
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Dania Beach, FL
Rare Van Cleef & Arpels Oiseau De Paradis Multi Color Diamond Earrings ~ 18k White Gold ~ Fancy Pink Diamonds Fancy Yellow Diamonds and White Diamonds ~ All Natural Colored Diamonds ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Van Cleef & Arpels

Materials

Diamond, White Diamond, Yellow Diamond, Pink Diamond, 18k Gold, White Gold

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Questions About Van Cleef & Arpels
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    Van Cleef & Arpels is so expensive because it is a well-known company that has a fantastic reputation. Van Cleef & Arpels are universally renowned for high quality jewelry with a focus on detail. High-profile fans of the French jewelry house over the years have included the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and many more. Find an extraordinary range of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry on 1stDibs.