Van Cleef & Arpels’ Legacy and Artistry by Cooper-Hewitt

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Legacy and Artistry by Cooper-Hewitt

The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels will showcase more than 300 timepieces, fashion accessories, design drawings, images from the firm’s archives and, of course, an abundance of jewelry in six themes that reflect its legacy: Innovation, Transformation, Nature, Exoticism, Fashion, and Personalities.

The Innovations category highlights the brand’s Mystery Setting, a 1933 patented technique in which stones are cut to fit a metal grid so there is no visible metal setting. Among the standout Mystery Setting pieces is a ruby Peony brooch, circa 1937. In the Fashion theme are five minaudières, including elaborate jeweled models and the brand’s first 1930s piece inspired by Florence Jay Gould, wife of the American philanthropist Frank Jay Gould. The exhibit’s Transformation portion features a 95-carat yellow diamond bird brooch, whose wings become a set of earrings. Exoticism and Nature show the recurring influence of travel and natural inspirations on classic Van Cleef & Arpels motifs like the butterfly, and Personalities will demonstrate the influence the house has had in American society through famous patrons like Elizabeth Taylor.

Victoria Scott-RichardsVan Cleef & Arpels’ Legacy and Artistry by Cooper-Hewitt