Over 450 pieces of jewellery selected from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection are displayed over seven themes illustrating the poetry and ingenious craftsmanship of the Maison: Couture, Abstractions, Influences, Precious Objects, Nature, Ballerinas and Fairies, and Icons.
Explore the Collection


Van Cleef & Arpels’ use of Couture motifs and materials is a discrete homage to the city of its origins, Paris: the capital of fashion and elegance. Thanks to the craftsmanship of the Maison’s workshops, fabrics are transformed into jewellery, while ribbons and lace are embellished by gold weave and precious stones.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Zip necklace transformable into a bracelet, 1954
Platinum, gold, rubies, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.


Van Cleef & Arpels is famous for its highly distinctive style, inspired by nature, Couture and imaginary worlds. However, less well known to the general public, the Maison has also produced nonfigurative jewels influenced by the art of its times. Together, they form a tribute to the avant-garde: notably, the minimalist, modernist, abstract and op art movements. These creations recall a century of innovations in the fields of design, architecture, sculpture and fashion.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Art Deco bracelet, 1925
Platinum, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.


A fascination for Far Eastern culture swept over Parisian jewellery in the 1920s. The Universal Exhibitions were opportunities for the public to discover ceramics, silks, bronzes and other wondrous pieces which fuelled Van Cleef & Arpels’ inspirations. The trend for exoticism was at its height in 1931, at the “Exposition coloniale internationale” in Paris that drew millions of visitors. At the Maison's booth, viewers were enchanted by a yellow gold jewellery set called Chapeau Chinois, inspired by the Asian hat worn in rice paddies and it was awarded the exhibition’s Grand Prix.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Chinese hat set, 1931
Gold. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.

Precious Objects

Since the 1910s, Van Cleef & Arpels have skilfully raised utilitarian objects to the rank of precious works of art. This talent was first exercised on tiny vanity cases. In the early 1930s, these nécessaires bags were further developed into a larger box in lacquer or yellow gold, named the Minaudière™. It opens to reveal all the accessories an elegant lady might require: a powder case, a watch, a dance card, a cigarette holder, glasses, a pill box, a lipstick, a comb, a pencil, a lighter, etc.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Wild rose Minaudière, 1938
Gold, Mystery Set rubies. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.


Nature has been a major theme and source of inspiration for the Maison since its foundation. Delicate flowers and blossoms, real or imaginary animals have brought vitality and poetry to its creations from the 1920s to the present day. In this wondrous garden, stunning birds of paradise, dragonflies and lovebirds live amongst poppies, camellias and orchids, all transformed into jewels.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Passe Partout jewel, 1939
Gold, sapphires, rubies, diamonds
Transformable into a bracelet or a belt. Detachable clips. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.

Ballerinas and Fairies

Inaugurating an emblematic tradition at Van Cleef & Arpels, the Maison’s first ballerina clips were created in New York in the early 1940s. Born out of Louis Arpels’ passion for dance, these feminine figures rapidly won over collectors with the grace of their postures and the beauty of their costumes. The fairy clips, constantly portrayed in a variety of graceful postures, are dressed in equally dazzling bejeweled attire, sometimes complete with a magic wand.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Spanish ballerina clip, 1941
Platinum, gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.


The Maison has been cherished by the most beautiful women and has adorned them on legendary occasions. Some were Hollywood stars – such as Elizabeth Taylor – or celebrated divas like Maria Callas, not to mention Indian Maharajas and royal figures such as HSH Princess Grace of Monaco, HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt or the Duchess of Windsor. Radiant on the international scene, all these personalities have contributed over time to the Maison’s unique vision of elegance and splendour.

Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Peony clip, 1937
Platinum, gold, Mystery Set rubies, diamonds
In the former collection of Her Royal Highness Princess Faiza of Egypt. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection.