A Quest for Beauty Media Kit
Bowers Museum — Santa Ana, Calif. — The Bowers Museum
in Santa Ana, California, will host “A Quest for Beauty:
The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels” a heritage exhibition from
October 27, 2013 through February 15, 2014. Spanning
over 100 years of history, the exhibition will allow visitors
to view jewelry, watches, and precious accessories, as well
as archive drawings and documents of the Place Vendôme
High Jewelry Maison.
More than 200 pieces from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
will be on display for the international exhibition. Visitors
will go through a journey built around four themes that
continue to inspire the Maison: Nature, Elegance, Exoticism
This immersion into Van Cleef & Arpels’ style is also the
opportunity to discover the Maison’s virtuoso craftsmanship,
passed on by generations of Mains d’Or™, the magic of
exceptional Pierres de Caractère™, not to mention the
stories attached to some of the creations that have achieved
mythical status. From iconic pieces to the legendary women
who wore them and contributed to the reputation of the
Maison, “A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels”
highlights the enduring legacy and the constantly renewed
creativity of the Maison.
For more information, please contact:
Megan Martinez, Vice President of Development & Marketing
Image Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels Project
Press Release: Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibition Department of Communications
V an C leef & A rpels , S ince 1906...
The history of Van Cleef & Arpels began with a love story
when, in 1895, Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a precious
stone merchant, married Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a
lapidary and diamond broker. In 1906, their passion for
jewelry and an entrepreneurial spirit led them into business
with Estelle’s brothers, Charles, Julien and Louis, and
together they opened a boutique at 22, Place Vendôme, in
an area renowned for its elegance and luxury. Van Cleef &
Arpels was born. The jeweler’s Parisian address has never
changed, becoming its hallmark. The Maison’s reputation,
which spread among the international elite, soon allowed
it to open up branches in the most fashionable seaside
and resort towns throughout the world.
In the 1930s, a second generation came on the scene. From
1926 to 1942, the daughter of Alfred and Estelle, Renée
Puissant, great Artistic Director of the Maison, marked
the collections with the stamp of her inspired creativity.
Julien Arpels’ sons Claude and Jacques, who were joined
by their brother Pierre after the war, were also initiated
into the profession. Gifted with enormous energy and
innate business sense, Jacques seemed destined to take
over the main office in Paris. After a visit with his father
and Uncle Louis to the United States, Claude decided to
set up in New York in 1939, where he would head the
business until 1990.
During this first half of the century, the Maison also
developed new expertise and creations that would become
genuine signatures: an ingenious clutch bag called the
Minaudière™ case, the Mystery Setting™ technique
whereby metal disappears beneath precious stones, the
convertible Passe-Partout jewel or the innovative Zip
necklace inspired by the zipper.
The elegance and ingenuity of the creations, along with
the use of the most precious and rare materials, allowed
Van Cleef & Arpels to seduce royal and princely families,
Hollywood icons and a discerning clientele whose highest
standards and impeccable taste demand “only the best.”
Some of these legendary names include Prince Aga Khan,
the Empress of Iran Farah Pahlavi, the Duke and Duchess
of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Marlene Dietrich,
Elizabeth Taylor, and Maria Callas.
Today, Van Cleef & Arpels continues to be renowned for
its innovative techniques and designs which include only
the highest quality gemstones. Successive collections
have perpetuated a highly original style defined by poetry,
culture, grace and femininity, which has allowed it to exert
its influence throughout the world. As of the beginning
of 2013, the Maison is present in Europe-CIS, the United
States of America, Brazil, the Middle East and Asia via a
network of 101 boutiques, including 3 Maisons: in Paris
(Place Vendôme), New York (Fifth Avenue) and Hong
Kong (Landmark Prince’s).
1895 Wedding of Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef in
1906 Alfred Van Cleef and his brother-in-law, Charles
Arpels, register the “Van Cleef & Arpels” name and open
a boutique at 22, Place Vendôme. Julien Arpels joins them
in 1908 followed by Louis in 1913.
1920 Beginning of the craze for jewelry and fashion
accessories of Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese and
1922 Creation of the first Butterfly clip and charms. By
the 1920’s and 1930’s, special orders by the Maharajas of
Hyderabad, Indore, Kapurthala, Nawanagar and Nepal.
1926 Renée Puissant, daughter of the Maison’s founding
couple, becomes Van Cleef & Arpels’ Creative Director.
1930 Charles Arpels, inspired by Florence Jay Gould,
creates the Minaudière case which is patented in 1933.
1931 On the occasion of the Exposition Coloniale
Internationale in Paris, the Maison creates a number of
exotically inspired jewels, including the Chapeau Chinois
(Chinese Hat) set and is awarded First Prize.
1933 Van Cleef & Arpels registers the patent for the
Mystery Setting technique.
1934 Creation of the Ludo bracelet.
1938 Creation of the convertible Passe-Partout jewel.
1939 Van Cleef & Arpels settles in New York in the
Rockefeller Center, and then opens its boutique at 744
Fifth Avenue in 1942.
1949 Pierre Arpels creates a round watch with an extrathin case. In 2012, Van Cleef & Arpels presents a new
interpretation of this iconic timepiece: the Pierre Arpels
1951 Creation of the Zip necklace, suggested by the
Duchess of Windsor in the late 1930s.
1955-56 The Maison creates the jewelry for the wedding
present from H.S.H Prince Rainier III to Grace Kelly.
The wedding set was composed of three-strand necklace,
a bracelet, earrings and a ring. The following year,
Van Cleef & Arpels becomes “Official Supplier to the
1967 Opening night of “Jewels” in New York, a
ballet by George Balanchine inspired by creations of
Van Cleef & Arpels, with music by Fauré, Stravinsky and
Tchaïkovsky. Special order of jewelry for the Empress of
Iran Farah Pahlavi and the imperial family.
1968 Creation of the first Alhambra® long necklace.
1990 Van Cleef & Arpels creations are the subject, for
the first time, of a heritage exhibition at the Los Angeles
Museum of Art and then at the Smithsonian Institute of
1992 The Galliera museum, Musée de la Mode et du
Costume in Paris, organizes an exhibition dedicated to
Van Cleef & Arpels.
1999 The Richemont Group acquires Van Cleef & Arpels.
2002 Launch of Bridal, a collection of engagement rings
and wedding bands. The Maison develops its sales network
in: Osaka, Tokyo (Ikebukuro Seibu), Yokohama, Seoul,
South Coast Plaza Rodeo Drive, Taipei, Hong Kong…
2005 Van Cleef & Arpels enters the Chinese market and
opens its first boutique at China World Mall, Beijing.
2006 Launch of the Poetic Complications Collection™
with the Lady Arpels Centenaire timepiece.
2009 The “Spirit of Beauty” exhibition is held at the
Mori Arts Center in Tokyo. New boutiques open at HK
Heritage, Beijing Wan Fu Jin and Hangzhou (China),
Galleria Seoul (Korea), Taiwan Bellavita (Taiwan).
2011 The “Set in Style” exhibition is held at the CooperHewitt National Design Museum in New York. Following
Paris and New York, Van Cleef & Arpels inaugurates its
third Maison in Hong Kong, in Landmark Prince’s.
2012 The “Timeless Beauty” exhibition takes place at
the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Shanghai.
Then, later the same year, “The Art of High Jewelry”
exhibition is held at the Arts Décoratifs Museum in Paris.
2013“A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels”
exhibition is held at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.
The High Jewelry collections
2005 Pierres de Caractère collection
2006 Trésors Révélés and Une Journée à Paris collections
2007 L’Atlantide and Ballet Précieux collections
2008 Les Jardins and Eternal Pearls collections
2009 Oiseaux de Paradis and California Rêverie collections
2010 Papillons and Les Voyages Extraordinaires collections
2011 Bals de Légende collection
2012 Palais de la chance collection
2013 Pierres de Caractère - Variations collection
Born in Paris, the center of elegance and fashion,
Van Cleef & Arpels is closely linked to couture,
its patterns and supple materials. During the Art
Deco period, the jeweler adorns stunning evening
purses and mixes silk with platinum, onyx with
rubies. In order to supply the finishing touch
to elegant society ladies, the Maison creates the
most refined fashion accessories and jewels:
Minaudières cases, ribbons, pompoms and lace,
embellished by gold weave and precious stones.
The delicate intricacy of the adornments and
the suppleness of the textiles inspire some of the
Maison’s most masterful technical achievements.
© Van Cleef & Arpels
Zip necklace transformable into a bracelet, 1955
Yellow gold, emeralds, diamonds
Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
One of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most spectacular avant-garde
creations is the Zip necklace, masterpiece of ingenuity
blended into superb design. The closure system was first
used for aviator jackets and sailors’ uniforms before being
appropriated by the fashion world in the 1930s. It was
the Duchess of Windsor who, circa 1938, suggested to
Renée Puissant, the Maison’s Artistic Director, a piece of
jewelry inspired by this technological marvel. Eventually
created in 1951, this piece of jewelry, very characteristic
of the couture theme of Van Cleef & Arpels, exemplifies
its interest for transforming objects and flexibility. It is
regularly re‑interpreted and perfected in the Maison’s
This yellow gold Zip necklace, designed as a zipper of
gold herring-bone links bordered by gold filigree hearts
studded with diamonds and emeralds, opens to form a
V-shaped necklace with tassel fringe at the center. An
extra jeweled segment and a second clasp allow it to be
worn as a bracelet.
Femininity, elegance, refinement… these
aesthetic values have always been at the heart
of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creativity. The
Maison has become the favourite of some of
the most beautiful women and has adorned
them on legendary occasions: royal coronation
ceremonies, engagements and weddings of
celebrated couples. Throughout history and
in all parts of the world, a number of famous
figures have decided to wear its creations. Some
are Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich,
Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner or celebrated
divas like Maria Callas, not to mention society
ladies and members of royalty such as H.S.H.
Princess Grace of Monaco, Princess Fawzia of
Egypt, Queen Sirikit of Thailand and Princess
Soraya of Iran.
Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Wedding set, 1953-1956
Platinum, pearls, diamonds
Private Collection of Princess Grace of Monaco, Principality
The Principality of Monaco had asked Van Cleef & Arpels
New York in 1955 to create a pearl wedding set, including
a three-strand necklace and bracelet, earrings and a ring
made of natural pearls and diamonds mounted in platinum.
Three months later, the Maison was named “Official
Supplier to the Principality of Monaco.”
This wedding set, dating from 1953 to 1956, belongs to
the Private Collection of Princess Grace of Monaco in
the Principality of Monaco.
A major theme for the Maison since its beginnings,
nature is a rich source of inspiration. Delicate flowers
and blossoms, animals that are real or imaginary,
bring vitality and poetry to the creations from the
1920s to today. Fascinated by the never-ending
transformations of fauna and flora, the jeweler
captures the flutter of a butterfly’s wings or the
blooming of sumptuous peonies on a clip. In this
wonderful garden, stunning birds of paradise,
graceful swallows and imaginary creatures live
amongst poppies, camellias and orchids that have
been transformed into jewels by the Mains d’Or
of the Place Vendôme workshops.
A rich and colourful palette of gems comes into
play to embody the incredible diversity of nature’s
hues and to enhance creations which are always
imbued with magic and movement. This enchanting
and constantly renewed vision of nature is at the
essence of the Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections.
© Van Cleef & Arpels
Pastilles clip, 1951
Platinum, yellow gold, rubies, diamonds
Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
A stunning signature, a technical feat and visual delight,
Mystery Setting pieces are dazzling stars in the firmament
of High Jewelry. This technique has been indisputably
linked to Van Cleef & Arpels since 1933 when it was
patented. The secret behind the Mystery Setting technique
is a delicate lattice of gold “threads” on which the stones
— selected to very strict criteria — are positioned one by
one to fit precisely into where they will be placed. Each
gem takes between 3 to 5 hours in preparation and the
lapidary can spend hundreds, even thousands of hours,
creating just one single piece. Once mounted, the stones
cover the surface of the jewel, giving it a magnificent
velvet luster. The technique enhances natural reflection,
revealing the gems in all their brilliance while their gold
mounting remains invisible.
Emblematic of Van Cleef & Arpels’ style and technical
inventiveness, this Pastilles ruby and diamond clip celebrates
the inimitable and incomparable art of the jeweler. Created
in 1951, it comprises a flower with caliber-cut ruby circular
petals, with a graduated baguette-cut diamond trim.
Pagodas, dragons, chimeras… The fascination
for all things Far-Eastern sweeps over Parisian
jewelery in the 1920s. The Universal Exhibitions
are the occasion for the public to discover ceramics,
silks, bronzes and other wondrous pieces which
fuel Van Cleef & Arpels’ imagination. Thus,
Buddhist temples and calligraphy adorn vanity
cases while jade embellishes jewels, watches and
precious objects. Other exotic horizons enchant
the West: the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb
sets off a wave of egyptomania in the decorative
arts and the treasure of the Indian Maharajas
dazzles the jewelers of the place Vendôme.
Van Cleef & Arpels succumbs to the allure of
Indian colours and designs.
In the 1970s, the “hippy” trend brings them
back with the creation of long necklaces that
offer a daring mix of stones and colours. These
eclectic and masterful creations pay tribute to
the Maison’s curiosity, spanning one hundred
years, towards different cultures, as well as its
© Van Cleef & Arpels
Dragon vanity case, 1923
Yellow gold, platinum, enamels, jade, diamonds
Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
During the Art Deco period, many creations were inspired
by Asia. The pieces were very colorful (black, red, green,
yellow gold) and the materials used by the Maison recalled
the Chinese use of lacquer, enamels, mother-of-pearl,
carved jade and coral.
This Dragon vanity case from 1923, with a contrasting
red and black color scheme and the use of enamel for a
smooth lacquer-like finish, epitomizes this Asian influence
in Van Cleef & Arpels’ artistry.
The cylindrical red enamel case is set with an enamel band
with a gold dragon motif and rose-cut diamond border,
opening to reveal four compartments, one with mirror
and aide-mémoire cover with slide in pencil, a lipstick,
a powder compartment and a vested case. The terminals
are decorated with carved jade and diamonds details. A
black and red enamel ring was used for handing. The
vanity case is mounted in yellow gold and platinum.
V an C leef & A rpels
At the beginning of the 20th century, far-away civilizations,
particularly the East and the Far-East, exerted a strong
fascination in Europe. Although situated at the heart of
the world of Parisian High Jewelry in Place Vendôme
since its foundation in 1906, the Maison nevertheless
looked to the East for the exotic inspiration that fuels its
imagination. The influence of Chinese culture and style
(designs, colors, hard stones) was expressed through
highly creative jewelry and watchmaking pieces, precious
accessories and objets d’art.
Van Cleef & Arpels, which took part in the Exposition
Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in 1925, is one of the
forerunners in creating jewelry “à l’Oriental”. The trend
for exoticism was at its height in 1931 at the Exposition
Coloniale Internationale in Paris that drew millions of
visitors. At the Maison’s stand, viewers were charmed
by a set of yellow gold jewelry named Chapeau Chinois,
inspired by the Asian hat worn in rice paddies and awarded
Now more than ever, Van Cleef & Arpels nurtures this
enduring kindred spirit with China. In 2012, the “Timeless
Beauty” exhibition at the MOCA Shanghai, sponsored
by former French Prime Minister and Vice-President of
the French Senate Mr. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, became the
crowning moment of a strong relationship started nearly
a century ago.
A udio G uide
Over 200 creations will be highlighted in the exhibition,
“A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels,”
at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. These
pieces exemplify the history and the innovations of the
French High Jewelry Maison since it was founded in 1906.
The free exhibition app will guide visitors through their
entire visit: they would find all of the practical information
for both the Bowers Museum and the exhibition in the
information section; they would learn about the inspirations
and listen to anecdotes for a selection of pieces on display
in “A Quest for Beauty” thanks to the audio guide section;
finally, they would be able to share their thoughts and
comments in the Exhibition Guest Book.
coffee table book
Because the exhibition represents a major event for
Van Cleef & Arpels, the Maison wishes to accompany
‘‘A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels” with
a book that includes a great number of pieces following
the themes of the exhibition. The reader is invited to
discover jewels, precious accessories and objets d’art
from Van Cleef & Arpels Collection. These images,
accompanied by texts written by famous writers and
specialists renowned for their jewelry expertise, will make
up a beautiful exhibition book, distributed in the Bowers
Museum Gallery Store or online at www.bowers.org.
FAMED FRENCH JEWELRY MAISON
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS REOPENS
AT SOUTH COAST PLAZA
Costa Mesa, CA – November 2013 – World renowned
French Jewelry Maison Van Cleef & Arpels unveils its newly
expanded boutique at South Coast Plaza. The boutique
now covers 2,174 square feet and boasts Van Cleef &
Arpels’ latest interior design concept. The modern and
timeless décor features a warm color pallet of bold grey
and black with touches of green, a crystal chandelier, gold
leaf accents, fabric covered walls, and custom wallpaper
to create a uniquely refined, intimate environment. The
VIP room is further enhanced by elegant Baccarat sconces.
“Costa Mesa is a key location that has proven to be an
area of great growth opportunity for the Maison,” says
Alain Bernard, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels,
The Americas. “South Coast Plaza houses world-class
international brands and specialty stores. We are excited
to have a significant presence at this important shopping
destination and look forward to many years of success
The boutique’s expanded space will showcase a vast
array of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry including the iconic
Alhambra® and Perlée collections, Between the Finger™
Rings, and Oiseaux de Paradis™ designs. Also on display
will be an impressive range of timepieces, from the newly
classic Talisman and Charms watches, to the Maison’s
signature Poetic Complications™ collection. To celebrate the
reopening of the boutique, a limited edition of 8 timepieces
will be also unveiled, exclusively at South Coast Plaza.
Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in
1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle
Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison
has become a worldwide reference through its unique
designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso
craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell
stories and bring enchantment to life. Over the years, the
Maison has remained faithful to this highly distinctive
style characterized by creativity, refinement and poetry.
Whether inspired by nature, couture or the imagination,
its collections evoke a timeless world of harmony and
In the United States, Van Cleef & Arpels has boutiques in
New York (since 1939), Manhasset, NY; Short Hills, NJ;
Palm Beach (since 1940); Bal Harbour, FL; Boca Raton,
FL; Naples, FL, Chicago; Las Vegas (City Center and
Palazzo); Costa Mesa (South Coast Plaza); and Beverly
Hills (since 1969).
For more information, please contact:
Manager of Public Relations, Van Cleef & Arpels
B owers M useum hosts A nnual G ala
F undraiser with F amed H igh J ewelry
M aison V an C leef & A rpels
The Bowers Museum is honored to host “A Quest for Beauty:
The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels” heritage exhibition from
October 27, 2013 through February 15, 2014. The exhibition
will debut on Saturday, October 26 at the Bowers’ annual
fundraising gala. Honorary event co-chairs, Edward P. and
Gayle Garner Roski, and Henry T. and Elizabeth Segerstrom,
will join 300 special guests for a bejeweled evening. Gala
guests will be the first to discover more than 200 pieces
from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection that span over 100
years of the Maison’s rich history.
Van Cleef & Arpels President and CEO, Nicolas Bos, and
President and CEO, Americas, Alain Bernard will be in
attendance, as well as Bowers Museum President, Dr. Peter
C. Keller and Chairwoman of the Bowers Museum Board
of Governors, Anne Shih. Gala Co-Chairs include longtime supporters — D. Diane Anderson, Mei-Yen Chang,
Huang and Angela Hsu. The Bowers Museum is pleased to
acknowledge Honorary Co-Chairs — Edward P. and Gayle
Garner Roski of Majestic Realty, and Henry T. and Elizabeth
Segerstrom of South Coast Plaza.
The celebratory evening will consist of exquisite hors d’oeuvres,
signature cocktails, and a three course dinner catered by
the Zagat-rated restaurant, TANGATA – part of Joachim
Splichal’s Patina Restaurant Group. A live jazz trio and
jewelry presentation will entertain guests as they mingle and
view the breathtaking exhibition, including jewelry, watches,
and precious accessories, as well as archive drawings and
documents of the Place Vendôme High Jewelry Maison.
Patrons will go through a journey built around four themes
that continue to inspire the Maison: Elegance, Femininity,
Nature, and Exoticism.
Enjoy a leisurely luncheon at awardwinning Tangata. Outdoor seating
is also available, overlooking the
Bowers historic mission-style
courtyard from 11 AM to 3 PM.
Browse the rare and exotic at the
Bowers Museum Gallery Store. It’s
more than just a shopping trip—it’s
a cultural experience.
The Bowers Museum has earned an international reputation
through its world-class exhibitions, including Warriors,
Tombs and Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy, Terra Cotta
Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor, Secrets of
the Silk Road, and Mummies – Death and the Afterlife:
Treasures from the British Museum, as well as its own
extensive art collections from throughout the Americas
and the South Pacific. The Bowers Museum is accredited
by the American Alliance of Museums. In addition, the
Bowers’ Kidseum, located one block south of the main
museum, engages children through extensive activities
designed to encourage creativity and inspire imagination.
Bowers Museum and Kidseum are closed on Mondays,
Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New
Year’s Day. Regular operating hours: Tuesday through
Sunday, 10 AM to 4 PM.
BOWERS MUSEUM, in Santa Ana, is centrally located
in the heart of Southern California.
Address: 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Tickets and Information/ 714.567.3600
T IC K E T S w e e k d a y weekend
Seniors (62 & over) & Student
$10 * $12 *
Children (under 12) Free*
*Pricing subject to change
Group Tours: [email protected] / 714.567.3655
Membership: [email protected] / 714.567.3639