Van Cleef and Arpels Little Creatures


Creating jewelry for Van Cleef & Arpels takes lots of ruminating and letting childlike inspiration take hold. It’s a job that Nicolas Bos, Creative Director (and chief imaginarium officer) is enlisted with to get people into their lavish salons and make them swoon over the pieces. Mr. Bos chose a very old story as the brand’s latest inspiration—the epic tale of Noah’s ark or in their native tongue, L’Arche de Noé racontée.


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

Because nature— animals and botanicals are motifs used in their jewelry throughout the brand’s history, the idea of recreating Noah’s ark with the animals, two by two, aligns perfectly with who they are. This menagerie with over 60 jeweled animals along with 3 imaginary creatures ( Pegasus in sapphires) made into brooches is a big undertaking and speaks to VCA’s jewelry making prowess. The installation is open to the public from now to November 19th.  


Van Cleef & Arpel’s is about the magical, the enchanted and tells fairy tales with jewels. Case in point the “Secrets” collection of high jewelry in which each piece has a hidden functionality. An animated video on their website can be seen below. 

 It begins with a tinkerbell like sprite, fluttering around each piece revealing the secrets. An articulated petal of a flower, a bird that displays  her baby chick or a necklace that’s center reveals a ring, are a few. Their strong brand identity is key in distinguishing themselves from other jewelers.

Back to the biblical. Of the brooches or clips as they call them, some animals are entwined as doubles some singular in a fabulous feat of jewelry expertise. There are racoons 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 and onyx, and diamond, sapphire and emerald encrusted koalas to name just a few from the zoo. 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 hte ark small within the room. To keep viewers on their toes  a thunderous crash followed by a black-out of light added a monumental element to the presentation. It makes one think about the deluge event that initiated Noah’s rescue mission.( see video above)


You can experience  the installation 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

I'm a seasoned fashion editor, stylist and writer. I write about fashion and luxury from an insider's perspective. Check out my styling portfolio at
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