Van Cleef and Arpels Little Creatures


One of the requisites of making adorable jeweled creatures for Van Cleef & Arpels is to let childlike fancy guide the designs. VCA entrusts Nicolas Bos, Creative Director and chief imaginary officer with this job so that jewelry groupies will grace their lavish salons. What better story to re-tell in gemstones than the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark which doubles the cute factor with two creatures for the price of one. In the brand’s native tongue the project is called, L’Arche de Noé racontée. [ 377 more words ]


Noah’s ark jeweled animals
photo courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Because nature— animals and botanicals are motifs used in their jewelry throughout their history, the idea of recreating Noah’s ark with the animals, two by two, fits perfectly with their ethos. The menagerie with over 60 jeweled animals along with 3 imaginary creatures ( Pegasus in sapphires) are fashioned into brooches or as they call them—pins. An installation created by artist Robert Wilson was part of this project and  can be viewed until Nov 19, 2017  in New York. 

Van Cleef & Arpel’s loves the magical, the enchanted, the charming. They tell fairy tales with gems and jewels. Case in point the “Secrets” collection— each piece has a hidden functionality; a little surprise for the lucky owner. It’s not enough that jewelry adorns these days—it needs to entertain too. Link to the animated video is below. 

 It begins with a Tinkerbell like sprite, fluttering around each piece revealing the secrets. An articulated petal of a flower, a bird that shows her baby chick or a necklace’s center reveals a ring—these are a few. Their strong sense of whimsical and magical is key in distinguishing themselves from other legacy brands and they continue to do this with Noah’s Ark. 

Back to the biblical. Many of the brooches are entwined animals as doubles but most  singular in a fabulous feat of jewelry ability. There are raccoons who each sit on a cabochon of spessartite garnets and pink tourmalines, cute lapins (rabbits) with diamonds and onyx, regal zebras with diamonds lapis lazuli, onyx, and diamond, sapphire and emerald encrusted koalas to name just a few who will be entering the Ark. They are truly a delight to see and all have the hefty “ price upon request” which is code for don’t ask.

The preview included a Q+A with artist Robert Wilson, who is known to have shaped the worlds of opera and theatre, Nicholas Bos, and moderated by Emmy Award Nominated Filmmaker and Author, Katharina Otto.  Robert spoke about his approach and why he kept the ark small within the room. A thunderous crash followed by a black-out of light added a monumental element to the installation. It makes one think about the deluge event that initiated Noah’s rescue mission.


You can experience Noah’s ark in jewels until Nov 19 at Cedar Lake Gallery in New York . For more info click

Noah’s ark jeweled animals
photo courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels







About Mimi Lombardo

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