Van Cleef & Arpels, The Art of Haute Jewellery Exhibition in Paris

van cleef

When I was in Paris last time, I got invited to come visit the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. The exhibition was one of the most prestigious exhibitions to visit this winter in Paris (along with the Dior curated exhibition about Fashion in the Impressionist Paiting at the Musee D’Orsay). 500 key pieces of the jewellery house had been gathered under a spectacular installation miming the Milky Way (designer Jouin Manku) to tell the story of this jewellery house which dates back from 1906. Through the story of the house, it was also the story of the evolution of jewellery (and fashion) which was showcased with stunning pieces from the 20s, 50s, and 70s (among others.. these were just my favourite years).

What striked me is the most? The phenomenal imagination and creativity of the designs.. and the incredible technical performances which made them possible.

My favourite pieces?

The wedding diadem of Princess Charlene from Monaco, the jewellery of Liz Taylor and the famous Zip necklace (very impressive to see how it works from close)

3 things I took away? 

  • Richard Burton offered stunning pieces to Liz Taylor to celebrate… the birth of her grand child (every occasion should be good enough for a diamond ;)
  • French actress Martine Carol asked to be buried with her jewellery (style attitude.. till the end! I love it)
  • And lastly, a  bit of vocabulary: A Demi Parure is a set of 2 matching pieces of jewellery (usually a necklace and earrings). If you have more pieces that match they are called a Parure.  And if you have all the pieces that were designed as a set, they are called a Grand Parure. (just to make sure you have your vocabulary right next time you visit your favourite jewellery shop :)

Enjoy the pictures and many thanks to the team who allowed me to publish them on my blog!

If you want to learn more about the exhibition or Van Cleef & Arpels, visit their website:

Van Cleef and Arpels

Panka Necklace and Earrings Demi Parure, Paris, 1973

Van Cleef and Arpels

Zip Necklace-Bracelet, Paris 1951

Van Cleef and Arpels

Pylônes Ring, Paris, 1939

Van Cleef and Arpels

Ludo Bracelet, Paris 1939Van Cleef and Arpels

Parure “Queen Marguerite” Paris, New York, 1990-1993. Ex collection of Elizabeth Taylor

Van Cleef and Arpels

Minaudière, Paris 1935

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