Van Cleef & Arpels
Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law, Salomon Arpels, founded the eponymously-named brand in 1896. Unfortunately, Mr. Van Cleef passed away just 10 years later, and Salomon Arpels enlisted the help of his brothers– Charles, Julien and Louis– and moved their operations to their original flagship “Van Cleef & Arpels” boutique in Place Vendôme, the iconic Parisian square in France’s capital city.
Famed for their nature-based motifs, such as flowers, fairies and animals, Van Cleef and Arpels has garnered a reputation for pushing the envelope in creative design. The patented “Mystery Setting”, one of the most consequential innovations of jewelry craftsmanship history, was created by VCA, as were the crowns of Queen Nazli of Egypt in the 1930s and the crown of Persian Empress Farah Pahlavi. None of these are quite as iconic, however, as the “Alhambra” motif, originally designed in 1968. Based on a four-leaf clover in sticking to their nature-centric design, the “Alhambra” signifies good fortune, and while it is named after the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, Spain, it is a motif with truly international appeal.