Style / Jewellery

Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée: Emblematic Elegance

The radiance of Perlee or golden beads became such a distinctive aesthetic element in Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery that over the course of a century, they have finally (and rightfully) become objets d’art in their own right.

Sep 18, 2017 | By Jonathan Ho

Unabashedly glamorous, undeniably refined and unmistakably feminine, the artisanship and craft for Van Cleef & Arpels has been on display, prominently displayed on wrists, draped seductively above many a décolletage and on some of the most prominent royalty in human history. Driven by a passion for beauty and excellence, the origins of Van Cleef & Arpels can be traced back to the love story of Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels where their union led to the establishment of the maison at 22 Place Vendome in 1906.

In fashioning some of the most memorable adornments over the last hundred years, the Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée collection stands a joyful testament to the expertise in the creation of some of the fabulous jewels and baubles of our time. Conceived in 1920, the aesthetic elements which would eventually become the design heritage of the Perlée laid the foundational groundwork in artisanal haute joallerie.

Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée: Emblematic Elegance

First, golden beads, a distinctive element in the brand’s provenance, was initially used as a delicate framing element to highlight and emphasise stones and motifs. Over the years, these artistic flourishes had become so recognisable and so mistakably “Van Cleef & Arpels” that in 1948, the maison had taken these ‘decorative frames’ as muse to form a collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches in the Couscous collection, inspired by a voyage to Morocco by the Arpels family. Next, as time marched the tastes and trends of the day might have changed, but the seductive appeal for bracelets and rings made from a multitude of yellow gold beads draped with precious stones in a dazzling array of assorted combinations came to exist in playful forms, christened “Twist” in 1963 where beaded braids alternated with other materials, their brilliance contrasting with the orangey-red of coral, the luminous blue of turquoise or the iridescent sheen of cultured pearls and finally, in 2008, the radiant beaded form has become so recognisable that to not endow the emblematic aesthetic with its own line, would have been tantamount to an artistic sin – thus, it came to be called, Perlée.

Workshop Pelée perle d’or

So named for the French expressions for a decorative pattern consisting of small circles or pearls, Perlée collection is a testimony to the Maison’s heritage and savoir-faire. Precious spheres in full bloom, Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée multiplies the ornamentation across three or five rows to create a three-dimensional effect. Here, individual gold beads are polished on a shimmering array of rings and bracelets, producing unique and subtle interplays of light which play according to her owner’s movements.

Thanks to a discrete clasp, the Perlée bracelet is emminently wearable and easy to open. When combined with its matching ring companion, the Perlée ensemble is harmonious, opulent yet tastefully sophisticated. Like all Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewelry pieces, Perlée ornaments are part of centennial of culture and history for a boutique so practiced in accessorising the Royal Houses of Europe. The Perlée collection is the sum of the savoir-faire of craftsmen of old, handed down and renewed over the generations, each succession an intricate improvement which serve not just to improve upon the countenance of these objets d’art but also their wearability and comfort – to wit, meticulous jewelry craftsmanship today renders the hinge invisible once the piece has been closed, hiding the discrete clasp beneath a single larger bead.

Workshop Pelée perle d’or

Day or night, the Perlée perles d’or bracelet and ring are versatile – dripped in yellow gold for day, drenched in sparkling ribbons of diamonds for night or alternatively, available in white gold for even greater stylistic flexibility. When combined with discerning choice of Perlée couleurs rings, hard stones – onyx, malachite or turquoise, these accessories serve her mistress in joyous association for mood, season and ensemble, making the Perlée among some of the most elegant and courtly of collections for Van Cleef & Arpels.

 
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