A jewelry motif called ‘‘Paillette’’, created by Van Cleef & Arpels in the late 1930s
— May 16th, 2016 —
Inspired by its rich heritage, the Maison is unveiling a brand-new jewelry collection with a rounded, graphic design: Bouton d’or™. Diamonds, gold, mother-of-pearl and hard stones come together in bold creations, born out of a unique expertise. From the choice of materials through to the intricately assembled motifs, each piece reflects all the virtuosity of Van Cleef & Arpels.
With joyful harmony, the Bouton d’or collection gives pride of place to the curved lines of a jewelry motif called ‘‘Paillette’’, created by the Maison in the late 1930s. Reinterpreted today, it lends itself to multiple plays of associations, volume and colors, producing a style that is both graphic and feminine. Adorned with a diamond at their centers, these concave or convex elements are repeated to compose a necklace that hugs the neckline, a subtly asymmetric bracelet, earrings that seem to dance with each movement of the body, a three-dimensional ring and a generous pendant.
Characterized by bold associations of materials, the collection is made up of two sets of five pieces. Gently reflecting the light, pink gold magnifies the delicate overtones of mother-of-pearl and the warm hue of carnelian, a symbol of life. With their glittering centers, the motifs spread out across different levels, in triple rows or joyful circles.
In a more contrasted pairing, yellow gold accentuates the encounter between the rich, deep black color of onyx and chrysoprase, whose spring-like green suffuses the creations with a luminous vitality. Fringed with discretely mobile pastilles, two pieces combine rounded curves with the geometric purity of the lozenge, to adorn a finger or give shape to a pendant that can be transformed into a clip.
A blend of tradition and modernity, the Bouton d’or collection’s style has its origins in the Paillette motif, which first appeared in the Maison’s archives in 1939. During the 1940s, this precious pastille of yellow gold was revealed in various interpretations. Gathered together into a rounded ring or the strands of an opulent double necklace, the motifs also formed sparkling bouquets.
Model wearing a Paillettes bracelet, American Vogue, april 1956, cover
Card for a Ballerina clip, 1947 Van Cleef & Arpels Archives Card for a Paillettes clip, 1948 Van Cleef & Arpels Archives
Set with colored stones, they brought a glittering three-dimensional quality to the skirts of the ballerinas created by the Maison during the same period. This joyful, solar aesthetic enjoyed continued success in the 1950s, when yellow gold complemented the fashionable feminine outfits of the day. From simple or double bracelets to earrings draped with the motif, the creations’ fluid, flexible lines echoed the world of couture that was such an inspiration to Van Cleef & Arpels at that time.
Bouton d’or pendant, transformable into a clip, yellow gold, diamonds, onyx, chrysoprase
The Bouton d’or collection – which is as notable for its meticulous choice of materials as it is for its delicately matched motifs – expresses all the excellence of Van Cleef & Arpels. For the hard stones, the Maison has been particularly attentive to the homogeneity and vivacity of their color, to their luminosity (for chrysoprase) and their depth (for carnelian). The mother-of-pearl used by Van Cleef & Arpels offers a regular surface and a luster of the highest quality, while its diamonds are selected according to the Maison’s standards of excellence: D, E or F for color, IF and VVS for clarity.
They thus enhance the beauty of materials that have themselves been hand-polished to magnify their radiance. To ensure the complete harmony of each piece, the pastilles that compose it are carefully matched for color, as well as for the opacity and overtones of their materials. When brought together to form a necklace, bracelet or ring, they compose a perfect symphony of jewelry.
Assembling pastilles for the earrings
Assembling the open-work plate on the pendant
Polishing the pastilles
Creating the Bouton d’or collection called for an exceptional degree of precision, meticulousness and technical skill. Once the various gold pieces have been shaped by hand, they undergo successive polishing – a particularly delicate process for the concave and convex pastilles. The glitter of the precious metal must be revealed, while carefully preserving the form of the motif. In gold, mother-of-pearl or hard stone, each pastille is adorned at its center with a diamond in closed setting that illuminates the different materials.
To ensure the pieces’ suppleness and flexibility, these motifs are carefully attached together: the process calls for a precise and agile hand, since hundreds of components – up to one thousand in the case of a necklace – must be joined together. The end result is then carefully examined to guarantee that it meets the Maison’s stringent criteria for quality and finish.