Ever at the forefront of innovation, Van Cleef & Arpels is launching a new high jewellery collection titled L’Arche de Noé, which features whimsical clips crafted in the likeness of animals and bedecked with diamonds and sparkling gemstones. The range is inspired by Noah’s Ark and includes over 60 pairs of animals such as parrots, monkeys and zebras. The collection also includes a few fantastical additions such as Pegasus, a phoenix and a unicorn, which are presented singly and mounted in Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic Mystery Set, where stones are meticulously fixed without any visible prongs.
The L’Arche de Noé collection is currently on show at an ongoing exhibition at the Hôtel d’Évreux in Paris, in a beautiful space designed by American set designer Robert Wilson. The presentation closes 26 September, so do stop by if you happen to be in the City of Lights. If not, check out our top 7 selections here:
Fashioned in the likeness of penguins standing on floating ice, this clip is an eye-popping array of diamonds, onyx and coral. The penguins’ backs are crafted in jet black onyx, while their bellies are mounted with many diamonds — which are mirror-polished for added brilliance. Their wings are lined with diamonds in a scalloped setting technique, while two tones of lustrous coral appears in their beaks and ice floe. Linking all these glorious stones together are prongs of white and pink gold.
This clip presents two ladybirds perched on a branch, one of which is about to take flight. The latter is adorned with glittering pink sapphires speckled with buff-topped black spinels (which have had their facets removed to create a cabochon effect), while the other ladybird is equally dazzling with a violet sapphire-encrusted body. For a final luxurious touch, the branch that anchors them is studded with round, baguette-cut and rose-cut diamonds.
A spectacular 46.2-carat white opal cabochon is undoubtedly the pièce de résistance in this clip, which features a pair of squirrels pressing their muzzles together. Gilded in yellow gold, the squirrels are embellished with yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets and white mother-of-pearl, and have buff-topped black spinels for eyes. Van Cleef & Arpels has incorporated these adorable rodents in its archival designs, its earliest being in the 1910s as tie pins.
A single unicorn takes centre stage in this design, which presents the mythological animal in motion. Its body is laid with Mystery Set sapphires, while its head and legs are studded with diamonds. Baguette-cut sapphires adorn its mane and tail, and its hooves are fitted with turquoise for a pop of colour. The unicorn also has vivid marquise-cut emeralds for eyes.
These owl clips come dressed in hard stones of lagoon green chrysoprase and violet sugilite, which is rarely used by Van Cleef & Arpels in its works. Their eyes and spread feathers are decked out in sparkling round diamonds, and their beaks and feet are made of onyx. According to the Maison, some elements of the owls were so intricate that it took nearly 120 hours of recutting to get the perfect shape.
Resplendent in an assortment of multicoloured stones, these toucans are a sight to behold. Their necks and long beaks are peppered with blue sapphires, red spinels, yellow and Paraíba-like tourmalines, and orange and green garnets. For a striking juxtaposition, the tropical birds’ plumages are constructed in bold, black ebony, which has been specially sculpted to produce a three-dimensional effect.
This majestic Pegasus features a coat covered in Mystery Set rubies and wings festooned with diamonds and two tones of coral. Its tail sports swirls of diamonds and rubies on pink gold, while its head, mane and legs are clad in round, baguette-cut and rose-cut diamonds. Buff-topped marquise-cut violet sapphires form its eyes. Van Cleef & Arpels’ attention to detail doesn’t end there: During the creation process, the Pegasus’ hooves and feathers were produced one by one and carefully adjusted at specific angles to ensure the design looked perfect.