Van Cleef & Arpels, the Grand Tour revisited
Today, to train youth through travel, students have the choice between roadtrips and Erasmus.Until the nineteenth century, young aristocrats practiced what is called the Grand Tour. This initiatory journey through Europe included two obligatory stages, Paris and the great Italian cities, and, in addition, other places where Van Cleef & Arpels was also inspired to imagine its new high jewelry collection presented in the capital in July during the couture week. “At the beginning of the 20th century, when Van Cleef & Arpels was founded, the curiosity for other cultures, eras and art forms allowed us to feed our imagination and give birth to innovative creations,” recalls Nicolas Bos, president of the brand. “ travel abroad to discover the remains of ancient civilizations offered an open mind to European intellectuals and artists. This had a decisive impact on our uses today. We always travel to broaden our horizons, in search of experiences and encounters.”
The Van Cleef & Arpels Grand Tour collection opens with the city of London symbolized by a first necklace called Josiah, inspired by the famous Wedgwood porcelain whose characteristic blue is evoked by two exceptional sapphires from Sri Lanka, The journey continues in Paris with earrings whose worked silhouette recalls that of the chandeliers of the eighteenth century decorated with tassels and formed of a basket suspended by a chain. Here, two oval rubellites mix their bright pink with the softness of purple sapphires, reviving the memory of the boudoirs atmosphere, favorite places of the ladies of the court. Then come the Alps and their shades of blue and green evoking, with the Regina Montium necklace, the snowy peaks and the beauty of mountain lakes. The clip Étoile des Glaciers draws precious edelweiss composed of diamond petals raised with a few touches of blue and yellow.
In Italy, the discovery of masterpieces of great masters gave the idea of bracelets-paintings, strips of white and pink gold where the cities of Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples are summarized by their monuments and their emblematic landscapes. Fully flexible, they follow the curve of the wrist, a technical subtlety that disappears behind the beauty of the stones applied as micro-mosaics. Other jewels tell these mythical cities like the extraordinary adornment Chant des Gondoliers with turquoise cabochons. Diamond-paved arch motifs recall the low bridges that make the charm of Venice. In a completely different spirit, the Diane transformable necklace, named after the temple of the gardens of the Villa Borghese in Rome, ends with a pink gold cage revealing a delicate bouquet of sapphires that surmounts an elegant pompom of cultured pearls and emeralds balls.
The journey ends in Baden-Baden, Germany, whose colourful folklore and the architecture of the half-timbered houses have given rise to rings with seductive volumes. The Schäppel model creates a lively palette thanks to a careful selection of emeralds, rubies, pink and yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets and diamonds, gems whose domes are reminiscent of traditional headdresses while maintaining their transparency. At the heart of this multicoloured device, the red of a cushion-cut ruby reveals its deep intensity. The Jeu de colombage ring captures the atmosphere of the old town and reveals its secrets over its four worn. To close this trip to the Black Forest, three bucolic clips evoke the garden of the Lichtenthal Abbey with rare materials such as boulder opal and coral whose raw appearance pays tribute to the nature from which they come.