Here’s What Van Cleef & Arpels’ New Ruby Collection Looks Like



The cover of my Set in Style book chronicling the 2011 Van Cleef & Arpels retrospective at the Cooper Hewitt museum in New York City got damaged when I left a window open that time a tornado touched down smack-dab in the middle of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But I remember well that it was graced with a Mystery Set brooch heaped with hundreds of rubies.

The vibrant red stone, evocative of unimaginable luxury, and the deepest of passions, is dear to the maison’s DNA. It goes all the way back to its founding in 1906 and especially during the Art Deco era, when the gem glistened from designs that became style icons, from Marlene Dietrich’s Jarretière bracelet to the cascading Windsor necklace worn by a certain American heiress.

So it’s fitting that Van Cleef & Arpels’ new high jewelry collection is entirely dedicated to rubies. And this is no petite capsule highlighting just a few masterpieces, but rather an extravaganza of color and craftsmanship encompassing more than 3,000 carats of certified rubies across 60 unique creations.

Not surprisingly, it took years for the maison to amass such a treasure trove of material. Selected individually, the collection’s rubies endow the compositions with unique personality, bringing all the subtleties of the original gouache designs to life with a magical, magnified display of fire and color intensity.

While each piece is one of a kind, they collectively allude to Van Cleef & Arpels’ design signatures—botanical imagery, couture-inspired motifs, the art of transformation, asymmetry, and the maison’s famous Mystery Set technique.

Van Cleef Arpels Peony brooch
Peony clip with Mystery Set rubies, oval-cut rubies, and diamonds in platinum and yellow gold that once belonged to Her Royal Highness Princess Fawzia of Egypt, 1937
Van Cleef Arpels bracelet illustration
From the Van Cleef & Arpels archives: product card illustration for the bracelet in a ruby jewelry set from 1939 designed by René Sim Lacaze. The bracelet depicts a broad flat ribbon crowned with a bow in a very Art Deco style.
Van Cleef Arpels Duchesse necklace
The Duchesse necklace with rubies and diamonds in white gold from 2011. The design is inspired by the Cravate necklace that the maison created in 1936 for the Duchess of Windsor.

For example, the Feuille de Rubis ring is formed by shapely, unfurling leaves that curl around, and create a nest for a diamond center stone that could be standing in for an exotic blossom or a shimmering cocoon.

Van Cleef Arpels Feuille de Rubis ring
Feuille de Rubis ring with rubies and a 9.05 ct. cushion-cut diamond in 18k pink and white gold

Couture details, like the sweep of an elegant train and thoughtfully placed, artfully tied bows, are invoked in the Rivières necklace, while the dramatic Elsa collar subtly references the work of designer Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as her handwriting’s loops and swirls, with its overlapping, intertwining ruby-encrusted links of pink gold laced with a ribbon of diamonds.

Van Cleef Arpels Rivieres necklace
Rivières necklace with 43.7 cts. t.w. oval- and cushion-cut rubies and diamonds in pink and white gold
Van Cleef Arpels necklace
Elsa necklace with a 5.05 ct. oval-cut ruby, rubies, and diamonds in white and pink gold

And Van Cleef & Arpels’ famous Between the Finger rings, which marry dual motifs in a single design, have been essential to the house’s stable of jewelry style icons since the 1970s. The latest iteration is inspired by kolams—ephemeral Indian artwork created with grains of rice.

Van Cleef Arpels Kolam ring
Kolam between the finger ring with 5.38 ct. cushion-cut ruby, rubies, and diamonds in pink and white gold

See more from the Treasure of Rubies collection below.

Van Cleef Arpels Priya necklace
Priya transformable long necklace with a 25.23 ct. carved ruby, 214 ruby beads, pink sapphires, white cultured pearls, and diamonds in pink gold
Van Cleef Arpels Berunda bracelet
Berunda bracelet with 3.23 ct. ruby, 3.99 ct. diamond, and round and baguette rubies and diamonds in pink gold
Van Cleef Arpels Unisson earrings
Unisson earrings with detachable pendants featuring a 5.63 ct. pear-shape ruby and a 3.01 ct. pear-shape diamond, rubies, and diamonds in white and pink gold
Van Cleef Arpels Andaakar necklace
Andaakar necklace with a 5.03 ct. oval-cut ruby, 1.21 ct. oval-cut diamond, rubies, and diamonds in white and pink gold

 

Top: Jardin de Rubis necklace with a detachable clip featuring an 18.12 ct. cushion-cut ruby, rubies, and pink and white diamonds in white and pink gold

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All That Glitters writer