Click! In a delicate, arabesque tableau of diamonds and rubies, smooth onyx and mother-of-pearl dance in and out alternatively between the open lacing with a hidden sliding system. Click, click! The full diamond moon turns its phase seamlessly to a crescent onyx with soft clicks on a 360-degree rotation system orbiting a brilliant, cushion-cut diamond.
The supple Dentelle Secrète bracelet and the radiant Lune ring, respectively, are two of 100 pieces in Van Cleef & Arpels’ newest high-jewellery collection: Le Secret. Just as Cupid signals with one finger to his lip, these secret machinations and meanings await the personal discovery of each wearer. In Cupid’s story depicted in the Secret de Amoureux clip, there is the gold-threaded bow and diamond-studded arrows ready to strike a purple rubellite heart dripping sweet pink and mauve sapphires.
“Jewellery in its essence is a talisman—something very personal that relates to each individual story,” said Elise Gonnet-Pon, Director of Van Cleef & Arpels for South East Asia. “In the Le Secret collection, these jewelleries convey love, friendship, and beauty in a mysterious, playful, and meaningful way.”
The Maison’s history itself bloomed when Alfred van Cleef, the son of a stone cutter, met Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a precious-stones dealer, which resulted in one family business in 1906. As Oscar Wilde once penned, “A life without love is like a sunless garden”—which is also immortalised as a secret message in Le Secret’s Fleur Bleue ring— time and again Van Cleef & Arpels evoke emotions in, and create connections with, other people.
“Through relatable inspirations and stories told by customers as the ambassadors is why each precious piece special,” Elise said. “People also appreciate it when they learn and discover that we try to remain true to our heritage and roots.”
Sous Son Aile is Elise’s favourite piece that contains both the Maison’s and the collection’s spirit from the moment one lifts the parrot’s bejewelled wing to discover a chick safely snuggled under. Framed by lively ruby-crusted poppies in Mystery Set, introduced in the 1950s for the flower and patented in 1933 for the set, the lovebird from its gradating carved-coral head down to its pink- and yellow-sapphire tail is a classic theme for Van Cleef & Arpels.
“I always encourage people to look at the back of the pieces,” Elise said, “This will show how the backside is also finely decorated, and how the Mystery Set works with its grid structure to leave no visible metal on the surface.” Working painstakingly long hours to bring the vibrancy of life into each jewel crafted, President and CEO Nicolas Bos also pitched in as Van Cleef & Arpels’ Creative Director. In its historical Place Vendôme creation studio and workshop, the teamwork continues as far back as the Maison’s history with an open mind to other arts around and the future ahead.
From a master’s trained techniques to an apprentice’s sharpening skills and finally to a customer’s excited elation, these are the embodiment of the brand’s positive vision of life in an authentic and meaningful way—adding on the mysterious and playful elements in the case of Le Secret.
Enter into Van Cleef & Arpels’ beautiful hidden world and discover each clever secret, such as the little ladybug, at www.vancleefarpels.com.