“Romeo & Juliet”, the new collection by Van Cleef & Arpels, is the perfect synthesis of art and culture bound by beauty. Beauty expressed in high jewellery through a range of arts, from English literature to Renaissance Italy.
When talking of love, it may seem a little obvious to quote Shakespeare. On the contrary, in these our times we have a burning need to reclaim something of the beauty of the classics. Today there’s a fundamental need to pause and reflect on Beauty and its values. Values that recent generations, whether for haste or indolence, seem to have forgotten. Or perhaps, even worse, don’t even know. So good on anyone who takes a glance into the past to be seduced by its emotion; and above all who manages to move an intense dialogue between disciplines of excellence. So it should come as no surprise if a new ballet, conceived by French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom Van Cleef & Arpels has recently been working, has been the inspiration for the eponymous Romeo & Juliet collection, made up of 100 surprising, unique pieces.
The collection develops like an articulate vocabulary, constructed according to the canons Van Cleef and Arpels always privilege: exceptional stones and cuts, sublime settings, (the Serti Mystérieux™ knows no rival), great talent instilling drops of poetry in creations with the purpose of being worn as jewellery. The characteristic stones of this year merit an ovation, and among them, emeralds dominate many of the creations with exceptional depth of colour. An example? The Colombian cabochon-cut emerald, the leading stone of the Hope necklace, with its 43.43 carats of pure magnetism that captures the gaze.
left: Romeo & Juliet – Lover’s Path bracelet in white gold, yellow gold, 3 emerald-cut emeralds, respectively 14.17, 13.71 and 11.90 carats (Colombian), diamonds. // right: Romeo & Juliet – Reticella Necklace with fixed white gold pendant, two type 2A DFL teardrop diamonds of 6.60 and 6.31 carats.
The Lover’s Path bracelet also takes on the green colour of hope, created by a trio of Colombian square-cut emeralds, (14.47, 13.71, 11,90 carats each), and likewise the Ceremony necklace. The Ceremony bears 14 emerald-cut Zambian emeralds (for a total of ca. 42 carats), selected by the Maison over the course of the years. The result achieved is a perfect amalgamation of colour, purity and crystallisation, generating such an intense green in perfect harmony with the delightful violet/mauve of the sapphires, tsavorite garnets and diamonds.
Alongside the green and the mauve, as emblematic of the rival houses the colour concept of Romeo & Juliet choses the red of the Capulets and the blue of the Montagues. Rubies, sapphires and lapis lazuli explore the infinite facets of the collection, a sentimental theme always among the preferred inspirations of the Maison, not just for its jewellery but for its universe of watches as well. Symbols of this being the numerous editions of the Complications Poétiques with delightful romantic scenes on the quadrants. Graceful, ethereal but extremely concrete in the mechanical complications that animate them. An allegory of love, as concrete and tangible as created by fantasy and the fruit of impalpable feelings. A quality shared by Van Cleef & Arpels’ Romeo & Juliet jewellery expressed in two grand themes, the figurative and the abstract.
Romeo & Juliet – Transformable Sautoir Belfiore in white gold, 14 oval and cushion-cut diamonds for 55.05 carats (Sri Lanka, Madagascar), turquoise sapphires, diamonds.
Exploring the atmospheres of Renaissance Italy, the collection brings the styles of the epoch back in vogue and enhancing certain peculiarities of Renaissance jewellery. The material contrast between the cabochon of semiprecious and the facets of the precious stones relive in the Sautoir Belfiore through the skilful arrangement of round calibrated diamonds and coloured sapphires, oval and cushion-cut. The Reticella Necklace is an ode to lace collars and ruffs. The “Mains d’or”, literally, the golden hands of the Maison’s celebrated masters of the art of jewellery, have revisited the tastes and fashions of Juliet’s day in a precious key. In the case, too the piece is transformable: the two teardrop diamonds (6.60 and 6.31 carats, type 2A, colour D and purity FL) can be worn as earrings. And beautiful Italy couldn’t possibly be lacking among the echoes of the past, cultural references and romanticism, in Verona itself, its architecture forming the backdrop to the happenings of the two lovers and their families, celebrating courtly love in an eternal ode to beauty. And whispering between the gems and poetry:
“Never stop dreaming!”