Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
20 September 2012–10 February 2013
107, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
+33 1 44 55 57 50

The daring of the creations Van Cleef & Arpels are highlighted in this exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs, which consists of 400 pieces that have made the legendary jewellery house just that since 1906. These prestigious pieces are shown with archive documents and drawings, in an exhibition design by Jouin-Manku. The history of Van Cleef & Arpels is studded with technical inventions handed down from generation to generation. This savoir-faire, always kept secret, combined with imagination and very free sources of inspiration, fuelled its formidable production of forms and models. Among the constant sources of inspiration – flora, fauna and abstract motifs – certain themes are emblematic of Van Cleef & Arpels’ originality: Egyptomania, the ‘Roses’ bracelet that won the Grand Prix at the International Exposition in 1925, and the pieces inspired by textiles (lace, knots, soft furnishings, drapery, tulle) have been constantly reinterpreted down the decades, as has the invention of the Serti Mystérieux. The transformable jewellery and the minaudière bag were invented in the 1930s.

The Van Cleef & Arpels image is still epitomised by the famous ‘Zip’ necklace, the first of which was inspired by the Duchess of Windsor and made in 1951. Subtly mixing values and styles, Van Cleef & Arpels is continuing to stamp its signature on the jewellery world, particularly with the Jules Verne collection, directed by Alfredo Arias at the Biennale des Antiquaires in 2010, and the latest collection, Bals de Légende, inspired by the memorable society balls of the last century. A signature whose hallmark is legendary mastery and savoir-faire, a passionate love of precious stones and a taste for innovation and metamorphosis.