Van Cleef & Arpels

Learn about VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, Jewellery artist,their past and upcoming works offered at auction at Christie's

The history of the famous Parisian jewellery house began in 1896 with the marriage of Estelle Arpels to Alfred Van Cleef. The company was founded in 1906 by Alfred and his brother-in law, Charles Arpels at 22, Place Vendôme. Julien Arpels joined the family business in 1908, and Louis Arpels in 1913. The oldest son of Julien Arpels, Claude, joined in 1932, followed by his brothers Jacques and Pierre in 1936 and 1944. An American boutique was opened by Claude in Rockefeller Center in New York in 1939, soon relocating to its definitive address at 744 Fifth Avenue. The 1930s saw some of the company’s most iconic designs: the house’s arguable trademark, the Mystery Setting - where the mounting of the gemstones is cleverly hidden behind the continuous calibré-cut ruby and sapphire surface of the jewel - was invented in 1933; and the concept of the Minaudière, made in honour of Florence Jay Gould, was invented in 1930 by Charles Arpels. In the following decades, the firm upheld its reputation for innovation with the zip necklace of the 1950s and the Alhambra theme of the 1970s. Today, Van Cleef & Arpels is part of the Richemont Group with more than 45 boutiques around the world.

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