Once Upon A Time
The 17th century masterpiece The Entry Of The Animals Into Noah’s Ark by Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Elder serves as the inspiration for this series of one-of-a-kind pieces. The maison draws on its rich tradition of creating animal motifs that date back to the ’20s, referencing antique wooden toy animals and contemporary works by Italian Pop Art artist Ugo Nespolo in crafting the collection.
The More The Merrier
A total of 60 different pairs of animal clips were created, with each pair sold as an inseparable set. The different characteristics of each animal are showcased through playful design and precious materials. Take, for instance, the lapis lazuli and malachite elephants, which are carved with Bauhaus-esque curves to mimic children’s wooden toys, and the foxes that are rendered in a ’50s cartoonist style reminiscent of Van Cleef & Arpels’ famous 1954 La Boutique collection of adorable animals.
Three mythical creatures – the phoenix, unicorn and Pegasus – are included to lend a sense of fantasy to this collection. Their highly textured and opulent designs employ the mystery setting that Van Cleef & Arpels patented in 1933, in which the stones are set without revealing the underlying metal. Another nod to the jeweller’s heritage is the use of wood as a material, which first started at the Maison in the 1910s. Here, it is seen on the bodies of the stag and hind clip.
Romancing The Stone
The stones’ high lustre are achieved through hand-polishing with brushes and threads. This mirrored finish is evident in the lapis lazuli and turquoise for the parrots, chrysoprase and sugilite for the owls, and ebony for the toucans. As some parts of these designs were so delicate, it took nearly 120 hours to recut the stones in order to attain the desired shape.
This story first appeared in Female‘s December 2016 issue.