The icon Alhambra by Van Cleef & Arpels


To be lucky, you must believe in luck,” used to say Jacques Arpels. Luck was such a dear value to him and his Maison, that his inspiration moved from it. Since the Twentieth, in Van Cleef & Arpels’ archives can be traced the iconic four-leaf clover. The same that, at Germigny-l’Évêque, in his private garden, Jacques Arpels himself used to search for and offer to collaborators, together with the English poem “Don’t Quit”, as an invitation to never give up hope.

Thus, at the end of the Seventies, the House dedicated an entire collection to the four-leaf clover: Alhambra. The motif has become the symbol of Van Cleef & Arpels; today, after fifty years, it celebrates the fluidity and elegance of the original design, revealing new creations.

Created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1968, following a tradition of excellence and expertise, the Alhambra sautoir has been able to capture the Zeitgeist and to offer new ways of wearing a jewel in everyday life,” comments Nicolas Bos, CEO and President of Van Cleef & Arpels, “In fifty years it has become a reference that has deeply influenced the history of jewelry.”

Since its birth, Alhambra adds up to high jewellery collections as a balanced and elegant good-luck charm, easier to be worn and more accessible. A symbol that had an immediate success at 22 place Vendôme – the address that has always been Van Cleef & Arpels’ – and all over the world. “Day” jewels, mixing materials, colours and shapes stylised boldly are the answer to the evolution of fashion and to the unprecedented manner of wearing clothes at the end of the Seventies and the following decade. The long golden yellow sautoir, with malachite or lapis lazuli accompanied the smooth silhouettes of that time, with sunny and vibrant colour combinations. The name of the collection, Alhambra, stands out for its powerful evocative ability, it encompasses a large imaginary, leading to far-away countries and seducing decorative patterns. This attraction for the Elsewhere is a constant characteristic in the various travels of the Arpels brooches: East, Japan, China, India… give a hint to the name of many jewels of that time, exotic like the Cashmere brooches, the Osaka pendant, the Dodécanèse necklace or the Ibiza pendant-clip.

Today, in celebration of the variety of materials that have characterised the Alhambra collection over time, the House presents two exceptional limited editions. Yellow gold is interpreted with lapis lazuli and diamonds or rock crystal. The editions, presenting a sautoir and a Vintage Alhambra bracelet, are characterised by two different aesthetics, one played on contrasts, the other on crystal clarity. On one side, the deep blue of the lapis lazuli is sublimated by the brightness of yellow gold and the purity of diamonds, on the other, rock crystal inspires fine games of transparency, enlightened by yellow gold.

The Maison draws inspiration from nature with its most precious materials: diamonds, mother-of-pearl and hard stones.


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