Video: Van Cleef & Arpels: Dream Jewels
Last weekend my dearest friend Layla encouraged me to go see the jewelery exhibition: Set in Style: Van Cleef & Arpels Jewelery, at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. I only had one hour available to visit and I decided to go with her because with today's rhythm of life, if you don't do things at the moment they appear, sometimes you don't get to do them later. In addition, going to the museum, an activity that is practiced less and less, always enriches the mind and spirit, and it happens that sometimes when one lives in New York, we take for granted all the cultural wonders that we have within our reach.
How was the visit worth! I was fascinated not only with the magical beauty of the garments, but with the craftsmanship and work behind each one of them. The exhibition examines the historical and innovative contribution that the Van Cleef & Arpels house has made to jewelry design during the 20th century. It has more than 300 works, including jewelry, watches, fashion accessories, many of which were created for American clients, along with design drawings, commission books, and manufacturing cards. One enters the exhibition and not only learns from the jewels, but also from their history and the life that surrounded their creation.
Among the most notable garments are those that carry the so-called "mystery frames", a technique in which the fit (or frame) does not appear between the stones creating an uninterrupted field of solid color (see the rubies in the photo). This technique is really special because it requires a highly qualified craftsman and a specialist in precious stones. The stones must be precisely cut to fit the designs and fit into the channel-shaped setting. Another celebrated innovation is Zip jewelry, a technique in which the necklace can be closed "with a clasp" to create a bracelet. Among the fashion accessories created by the house is the well-known Minaudiere, a bag without handles with space for lipstick, compact, comb,mirror (many of them with a hidden clock) that served as a perfect complement to fashion houses like Chanel, during the thirties.
Many personalities wore pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels and the exhibition dedicates a part to show spectacular garments such as a shiny tiara worn by Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor's amethyst, an Eva Perón bracelet and necklace and the "Jarretiere bracelet "by Marlene Dietrich.
I really thanked my friend Layla for encouraging me to go. Since she is a jewelry designer herself, her comments and explanations helped me put everything in perspective. But you don't have to be knowledgeable to enjoy the exhibition, just have the curiosity to learn and the sensitivity to appreciate the magnificent work of jewelry on display. Whether or not you are a fan of jewelry (although I doubt that any woman is not), this sample will leave you yearning to see more. It lasts until June 5.