Since Van Cleef & Arpels launched the Alhambra collection in 1968, the brand’s most famous offering has been admired the world over. Inspired by the lucky four-leaf clover, the range of necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and even watches has been growing ever since.
‘Created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1968, in keeping with its tradition of excellence and savoir-faire, the Alhambra long necklace captured the spirit of the age and introduced new ways of wearing jewels in everyday life,’ says Nicolas Bos, the brand’s president and CEO. ‘Fifty years later, it stands as a reference that has profoundly influenced the history of jewellery.’
When the collection’s first necklace launched in the brand’s Paris boutique, it was an instant success, offering an accessible entry-level piece for a new type of Van Cleef customer and an alternative to the label’s existing high jewellery offering. Instead of using an abundance of precious gemstones, the necklaces featured unusual, beautiful materials such as malachite, tiger’s eye and lapis lazuli, teamed with yellow gold, all of which were adored by stylish Van Cleef customers in the 1970s.
It wasn’t long until exceptional women from the worlds of fashion and film began to wear the collection. Figures such as the Princess of Monaco, actress Romy Schneider and French singer Françoise Hardy were early adopters of the pieces, bringing them further into the eye of the media. In more recent times, Hollywood stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz are regularly spotted wearing the designs.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the range, Van Cleef & Arpels has announced the arrival of nine new pieces, inspired by archival designs. Set in yellow, white and rose gold, the creations also feature mother-of-pearl, onyx, rock crystal and diamonds, alongside the classic lapis lazuli.
Both new and existing pieces from the collection are available to purchase from the brand’s place Vendôme flagship and around the world. Here’s to the next 50 years, and beyond.