Antique & Estate Jewelry / Colored Stones / Shows

This Traveling Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibit Heads To London


Anytime a jeweler like Van Cleef & Arpels grants even a glimpse into the inner workings of its legendary brand heritage, it’s a big deal. And now, Londoners have easy access to the house’s archives with its traveling exhibit, The Art of Movement, through Oct. 20 at the city’s Design Museum.

Divided into four sections—Nature Alive, Dance, Elegance, and Abstract Movements—the show captures the transitory, fleeting moments of life through jewelry design, as only Van Cleef & Arpels can do.

Van Cleef watch
A leaf secret watch from 1956

Nature Alive focuses on the many flora and fauna pieces in the jeweler’s arsenal, like its secret watches, which were revolutionary at the time of their introduction in 1929.

Dance (pictured at top) highlights the theme of ballet and femininity throughout Van Cleef & Arpels history (thanks to jeweler Louis Arpels’ love for it).

Van Cleef zip bracelet necklace
Van Cleef & Arpels convertible zip bracelet and necklace, circa 1952

Elegance could really include any and every Van Cleef & Arpels piece, but this exhibit highlights couture-inspired designs such as the convertible zip bracelet and necklace (shown above) that represent the introduction and rise in popularity of zippers in couture.

Van Cleef brooch
A brooch with fern leaves in 18k yellow gold fern

The final portion, Abstract Movement, pays homage to the shapes and materials of the early-20th-century artistic movements—including pieces like the intricate brooch with gold fern leaves shown above.

As the newest addition to the museum’s impressive lineup of exhibits (previously shows include brands such as Azzedine Alaïa and Christian Louboutin, among others), the Van Cleef & Arpels show will surely not disappoint. And even better, entry is free. For more details, visit the Design Museum’s exhibit page.

Top: Introduced in 1941, this ballerina pin pays homage to the Palais Garnier ballets beloved by jeweler Louis Arpels (ohotos courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels).

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By: Annie Davidson Watson

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