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Inside the Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibit at NYC’s Museum of Natural History


We’re seeing green—undoubtedly with envy but also quite literally, thanks to the jewels on view in the “Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Opening June 10 in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, the exhibit showcases 44 pieces—32 of which have never before been displayed in the United States—with emeralds, malachite, jade, and peridot, in celebration of the French house’s green gemstone designs over the past century.

“While the most well-known green gems are emerald and peridot, ‘Garden of Green’ brings additional green stones, with their beautiful, diverse shades, into the spotlight,” said George Harlow, curator emeritus of the museum’s Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, in a statement. “Green stones and minerals owe their unique colors and patterns to various causes—malachite from the copper in its chemical composition, and peridot from the minor quantity and ionic charge of iron in the stone—and each specimen in this exhibition is a beautiful example of the amazing products of natural Earth processes.”

The museum’s president, Sean M. Decatur, said in a statement: “We hope that with their curiosity piqued, our visitors will explore further throughout the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and enjoy learning about the physical properties of gems and minerals, their intriguing qualities, and what they tell us about our planet and its history.”

Below is a closer look at some of the incredible Van Cleef & Arpels jewels in the exhibit.


VCA Collier Quatre Chemins
Quatre Chemins necklace (also pictured at top) in white gold and platinum with 27.79 cts. t.w. emerald-cut Zambian emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds

VCA Cydonia necklace

VCA Cydonia earrings
Cydonia necklace and earrings (circa 2009) from Les Jardins collection with emeralds, diamonds, and pink diamonds VCA Carpenteria clip

Carpenteria clip from the California collection in platinum and yellow gold with peridot, white opal, garnet, and yellow sapphires

VCA Pongal Ring
Pongal ring (circa 2012) in yellow gold with a 27.81 ct. Colombian emerald, rubies, and diamonds
VCA Necklace
Necklace convertible to bracelet, commissioned in 1971 by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV for his wife, in yellow gold with 477.58 cts. t.w. Colombian emeralds and diamonds
VCA Mouse clip
Mouse clip (circa 1950s) in gold and platinum with green chrysoprase, rubies, and diamonds
VCA Oisillon clip
Oisillon clip (circa 1950s) in gold and platinum with green chrysoprase, rubies, and diamonds

(Photos courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels)

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By: Annie Davidson Watson

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