ince its creation, the Alhambra collection has stood out as an emblem of Van Cleef & Arpels, lending itself to many elegant variations intended to highlight particular moments and materials. Today, the motifs alternate in perfect harmony on both a Vintage Alhambra bracelet and long necklace, and a Sweet Alhambra watch, associating the soft glow of rose gold with the warm hue of carnelian. A material dear to the Maison, this ornamental stone elevates the pieces with its red-orange nuances.
Meanwhile, rose gold unveils tender, shifting reflections thanks to a guilloché effect, a signature of the collection since 2018. The sunbeam-like streaks adorning the motif impart a subtle relief to the surface of the precious metal, sparking an intense whirlwind of light that captivates the gaze.
True to the initial aesthetic of the Alhambra collection, an elegant beaded contour surrounds the symbols, reflecting a savoir-faire characteristic of Van Cleef & Arpels. The guilloché-gold motifs are accentuated by the soft glow of a central golden bead.
Thanks to the freedom and diversity it embodies, the Alhambra collection has regularly renewed the art of wearing jewelry since its creation in the late 1960s. Perpetuating this tradition, the collection is today enriched with an unprecedented design: a ring fashioned with a reversible motif. This piece features two sides made from different materials: carnelian, and guilloché rose gold set with a diamond.
The body of the ring, made up of three rows of cascading golden beads, was specially designed to ensure the stability and proper functioning of the pivoting motif. Perfecting this mechanism required many research and development trials to ensure the ideal motion, with a smooth and regular rotation. For each ring, the different components are assembled and adjusted by hand.
- Alhambra reversible ring. Rose gold, guilloché rose gold, carnelian, diamond
Attention to detail, typical of Van Cleef & Arpels, is also apparent in the great care taken to ensure perfect comfort. The interior body of the ring is lined with a golden half-bangle that gently embraces the finger. On the guilloché motif, the height of the closed-set diamond was specifically devised to avoid pressing into the skin, and preserve the radiance of the stone.
Finally, the translucent quality of the carnelian allows light to flow through the stone and reflect off the gold of the underlying motif. The stone thus appears to glow with an inner light. The successive manufacturing steps follow one another, creating rings that combine jewelry elegance and versatility, reflecting the Maison’s tradition of transformable pieces.
- Alhambra 20-motif long necklace. Rose gold, guilloché rose gold, carnelian
The Maison has always turned to nature, for inspiration and for its finest materials: carnelian, mother-of-pearl, turquoise, onyx, chalcedony, malachite, snakewood and more. These resources, like diamonds, are selected according to the highest standards of quality. Indeed, only 1% of materials are deemed worthy of being used for Alhambra creations.
Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony associated with the microcrystalline quartz family. Van Cleef & Arpels carefully selects only a minuscule fraction of rough stones to offer the most exquisite materials and the most vivid colors, ranging from deep red to shiny orange. From these stones, lapidaries create harmonious compositions, perfectly matched according to hue and opacity. The Maison also strives to achieve the highest level of polishing, with a view to bringing out the full beauty of each stone.
Rose gold has been used for Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations since the 1920s, adorning powder compacts, and subsequently on Minaudières, bracelets and watches of modernist inspiration, in the 1930s. Over the years, rose gold has often appeared together with white and yellow gold, notably to compose abstract motifs popular from the 1970s to the 1990s. The Maison uses a gold, copper and silver alloy, specially designed to preserve the beauty, color and luster of its creations over time. Its guilloché aesthetic reflects light with stirring intensity, imbuing pieces with a warm radiance.
- Alhambra 5-motif bracelet. Rose gold, guilloché rose gold, carnelian
“To be lucky, you have to believe in luck,” as Jacques Arpels, nephew of Estelle Arpels, used to say. Indeed, this value has often inspired the Maison’s creations since its founding. Jacques Arpels believed a piece of jewelry should be a good-luck charm. He would pick four-leaf clovers in the backyard of his house in Germigny-l’Évêque in the north-east of Paris, offering them to members of his team along with an English poem, “Don’t Quit,” as an invitation to always keep hope.