Back in 1921, a Daily Mail article described Van Cleef & Arpels’s ability to dazzle. “There is a historic diamond on display outside in one of the store windows, a huge pear-shaped gem known as the Prince Edward of York. […] Its sparkling shimmer seems to attract passers-by like a magnet attracts iron, and all day long a human hedge stands in ecstasy before its beauty,” it read.
Now, more than 100 years later, it’s clear the Maison still yields the same skill it’s become known for. The story of the Legends of Diamonds — 25 Mystery Set Jewels begins in 2018 when Van Cleef & Arpels came upon a rough diamond known as the Lesotho Legend. The fifth largest mined rough diamond in the world, the stone was an astounding 910 carats and a perfect D colour. It was eventually cut down into 67 flawless diamonds, which the Van Cleef & Arpels Design Studio used to dream up a 25-piece collection.
“The first six months of designing the collection were particularly intense. We had to envision creations that embodied the Maison’s style, that highlighted its expertise, such as the Mystery Set technique, while also enhancing these diamonds which, at that point, had not yet taken their final shape,” says Director of the Van Cleef & Arpels Design Studio, Thomas Pozsgai. “The challenge was to design harmonious pieces that brought all these elements together without one overshadowing the others.”
The final collection reflects a cumulative 30,000 hours of collaborative work between Van Cleef & Arpels’s jewelers, setters, lapidaries, and polishers. It celebrates the Maison’s historic techniques as well as combinations of gemstones like sapphires and emeralds. Select pieces were made to be transformable, and wearable up to six different ways. It’s an illustrious collection that draws on the power of one stone for 25 original pieces that each shine in their own way.