For the first time, the Perlée™ collection welcomes a new palette of joyful and highly colored materials. Gold and hard stones contribute a unique luster to creations that can be combined to match every mood.
Ever since its creation, the Perlée collection has been distinguished by delicate golden beads tracing refined and ethereal jewelry. Invested with all the Maison’s savoir-faire, they sparkle in a multitude of exquisite variations. In this symphony of pieces that inspire myriad combinations, the Maison celebrates a joyful femininity graced with finesse.
Today, six new creations – in yellow gold, onyx, malachite, tiger’s eye, carnelian and turquoise – contribute dazzling notes of color to the collection. Reigning majestically at the crown of a ring, malachite, tiger’s eye and onyx embellish the solar radiance of yellow gold – which also takes pride of place in an allgold model. The warm tone of carnelian complements the softness of pink gold to form a delicate harmony. Lastly, turquoise and white gold compose a luminous duet that blends gracefully with the Maison’s other white gold creations. Ever since its foundation, Van Cleef & Arpels has been known for its bold combinations of materials. Today, it invests the delicate world of Perlée with the poetry of stones and their shades.
Natural and lucky materials
Always a major source of inspiration, nature provides the Maison with its finest materials. In keeping with Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of excellence, they are chosen according to the most stringent criteria.
- Perlée variation ring, pink gold, carnelian
Carnelian : an orangey-red variety of chalcedony, carnelian was one of the first stones used in jewelry: it was present in various cultures, from Crete to Central Asia and the Far East. The burial robe of Pu-Abi, a Sumerian queen of the third millennium BC, was adorned with carnelian decorations. The Egyptians considered it a symbol of life and believed that it assisted the soul in its passage into the afterlife. The warm tones of carnelian also evoke joy and happiness. For its creations, the Maison chooses stones mainly from Brazil that are noted for their deep and consistent color.
- Perlée variation ring, white gold, turquoise
Turquoise : employed as a gemstone for several millennia, turquoise first arrived in Europe during the Renaissance era via Turkey, hence its name derived from the French for “Turkish stone”. Throughout history, its distinctive shade – recalling the sea or sky – has fueled its reputation as a sacred or protective gem. Much prized by the Pharaohs of Egypt and used for religious objects and jewelry by the Aztecs, turquoise was also set into seals to bring prosperity. In Europe, it was offered as a token of affection because of its color recalling that of the forget-me-not flower. Turquoise is therefore traditionally associated with generosity and friendship. The turquoise used in Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections comes from America and is chosen for its perfectly uniform blue hue.
- Perlée variation ring, yellow gold, malachite
Malachite : an opaque stone graced with unique beauty, malachite evokes the force of nature with its deep green hue, streaked with alternate light and dark veins. Its decorative qualities made it an especially sought-after stone in 19th century Russia, where it was used to decorate churches and palaces. Worn as a talisman in days gone by, it was thought to protect children and travelers. The Maison carefully selects stones with straight and regular bands (main origin: Australia) to ensure an elegant effect.
- Perlée variation ring, yellow gold, tiger’s eye
Tiger’s eye : tiger’s eye is what is known as a “chatoyant” gemstone, because of its yellowy-brown tones that catch the light. Its alternating brown and yellow bands resemble the eye of a cat. This mysterious aspect established its reputation as the “all-seeing stone” and Roman soldiers wore it to protect them in battle. Van Cleef & Arpels selects tiger’s eye from Australia or South Africa: the stones are distinguished by the regular harmony of their alternating colors.
- Perlée variation ring, yellow gold, onyx
Onyx: according to Roman mythology, Eros one day used the point of an arrow to cut Venus’s nails while she was asleep. Since every part of her divine body was immortal, they were transformed into stone and gave birth to onyx. Used in ancient times, it also appears in Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections. Originating mainly from Brazil, it is notable for its deep black color and polished surface, which reflects the light like a mirror.
White gold : with its distinctively restrained and luminous appearance, white gold lends a timeless elegance to the Maison’s creations. In the workshops, the metal is carefully polished and rhodium-plated to reveal its full brilliance. Much appreciated for the purity of its reflections, it is the perfect complement for diamonds, accentuating their sparkle.
Yellow gold : associated by many civilizations with the sun and the divine, yellow gold has been prized by Man since the earliest Antiquity – in particular for sacred or royal objects. Van Cleef & Arpels endeavors to bring out the best of this prestigious metal in its creations. Worked into golden beads and carefully polished, the 18-carat gold used by the Maison will preserve its luster for years to come, offering a precious symbol of radiance.
Pink gold : evocative of tender feelings, the pink gold used by Van Cleef & Arpels is the product of the Maison’s unique blend of gold, copper and silver. Whether delicately polished or creased using an emblematic Van Cleef & Arpels technique, it gently reflects the light, instilling creations with a warm, feminine sheen.
- Jewelry work (left), Polishing (center), Positioning the stone (right).
Perlée couleurs, the full excellence of Van Cleef & Arpels’ savoir-faire
From the selection of its materials to the intricate polishing of the gold, each Perlée couleurs ring reflects the Maison’s unique expertise. The craftsmen express their savoir-faire in a succession of gestures – all patiently carried out by hand – that require intricacy and precision. The polisher works the beads that form the ring one by one until they sparkle, while carefully respecting the gradation of different sizes.
Delicately positioned at the crown, the hard stones have been selected according to the most stringent criteria of Van Cleef & Arpels. To ensure they appear in their best light, each bead is set in keeping with the characteristics of its material. The veins of malachite and the overtones of tiger’s eye imbue the jewel with life and movement, while onyx, carnelian and turquoise reveal the full intensity of their hues. Epitomizing the Maison’s tradition of excellence, these high standards and attention to detail infuse each jewel with the emotion of a rare piece.
An emblematic Van Cleef & Arpels style
Part of Van Cleef & Arpels’ heritage since the 1920s, golden beads have contributed softness and luster to the Maison’s creations. Originally, a thin strand of textured metal was used to surround the stones and motifs of certain jewels. This setting technique – obtained by raising the precious metal and forming it into beads with a tool – was notably employed on the Egyptianstyle pieces in vogue at the time. From 1948 onwards, beads of yellow gold took on multiple forms to compose necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches in the astonishing Couscous collection, inspired by an Arpels family visit to Morocco. In the 1960s, while the Twist jewels offered a graceful combination of golden and hard stone or coral beads, Alhambra creations were hemmed with an elegant beaded border. Whether as decorative elements or sources of inspiration in their own right, golden beads have continued to illuminate Van Cleef & Arpels’s creations. In 2008 they inspired the joyful and feminine aesthetic of the Perlée collection, which has continually reinvented itself ever since.