Van Cleef & Arpels is a luxury jewelry and watch firm in Paris. Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Saloman Arpels founded the firm in 1896. Their designs are often floral but always classic and have been worn by high profile people such as the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor.
It is interesting to know that in 1966 Van Cleef and Arpels was contracted to create the crown for Empress Farah Pahlavi for her coronation. The firm sent a team to Iran to choose the major gems to use for the crown and 11 months later the completed the crown which included 36 emeralds, 36 rubies, 105 pearls and 1,469 diamonds was presented.
Van Cleef and Arpels is also credited for bringing to market the ‘invisible setting’. In 1933, the firm received the patent for their proprietary gem setting styled Serti Mysterieux, which means “Mystery Setting”. It is a technique where the prongs are not visible. Instead of the typical prong setting, each stone is set into gold rails that are less than two-tenths of a millimeter thick. The technique is so labor intensive the firm can only produce a few pieces per year and each piece can take hundreds of hours each. It is my understanding that this technique is high risk for breaking stones during the setting, which contributes to the high cost. When complete however, the invisible setting is stunning. My favorite for many years.
Other firms followed for similar patents like Cartier, however other invisible type settings have since been created which are not as labor intensive.
The Alhambra collection is a very popular collection by Van Cleef and Arpels. Unfortunately however the chain necklaces have been confterited in very high qualities. Other popular collections include Frovile, Fauna, Flora, Perlee, Bounton d’or, and “between the finger rings”.
The demand for Van Cleef and Arpel jewelry and watches is currently high. Not to say that could change as the economy changes. If you have any designer jewelry such as VCAA, contact us for assistance. Other designer jewelry that is in high demand is Harry Winston, Cartier, Tiffany, Fred, Rolex, Piage, and alike. Anyone selling important jewelry should not attempt to do so without a professional as there can be great risk to fraud and theft.