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Monday, 3 January 2011

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS: history of vintage jewelry


In 1896 Estelle Arpels, daughter of a precious stone dealer, married Alfred van Cleef, son of an Amsterdam diamond cutter. Ten years later Alfred opened a shop in Place Vendome with his brother in law Charles. Julien and Louis Arpels will soon join them. In 1926, Renee Puisant, daughter of Alfred and Estelle starts her designing career with Rene Sim Lacaze, these would be some of the most creative years of the firm and the beginning of the second generation; in 1930 Van Cleef invented the Minaudiere, a precious metal and stones vanity case for the women of a new era; in 1933 the firm created the Mystery setting and also in this decade the transformable pieces were born as well as the famous zip necklace, suggested by the Duchess of Windsor. 1939 the New York boutique is open. In 1968 the firm launches the famous Alhambra collection.