Most fine jewelry houses have developed a personal lexicon to designate their favorite gems. Thus, at Van Cleef & Arpels, we speak of "stones of character". It is almost exclusively precious stones (emeralds, rubies, sapphires but also colored diamonds) whose preciousness is not limited to the usual parameters revealing a superior quality, but also to that je ne sais quoi which causes the 'emotion. This allowed the French house to go beyond the stage of mastery to reach that of virtuosity.
In mid-March, sixty or so couples were invited to discover "Treasure of Rubies" on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thailand. This is not the first time Van Cleef & Arpels has dedicated an entire collection to one stone. In 2002, the house had highlighted colored diamonds, in 2016, emeralds.
A stone, a collection: the exercise of style could seem simple in the eyes of a novice. Collectors know its diffculty. Avoid monotony first. Above all, it is necessary to gather a considerable number of stones which are indicated by their attraction in terms of scarcity and provenance, but also stones which allow what is called in jargon, pairings, that is to say the juxtaposition, alongside each other, of gems whose brightness, fire, hue, weight and size are identical. We are therefore not surprised to learn that the house took nearly ten years to gather the 3,000 carats of certified rubies around which are articulated the 60 unique pieces of the collection.
Van Cleef & Arpels' affection for ruby is not new. Already in 1982, Jacques Arpels knew that it was his favorite stone. We all remember the first mysterious set pieces of the house: created in 1937, the double clip "Peony" that belonged to Princess Fawzia of Egypt has for decades been the imagination and envy of collectors. The number of extraordinary rubies presented here, however, exceeds all expectations.
The centerpiece of the collection, the "Rubis Amantante" necklace is a majestic ruby of over 25 carats. Its story is astonishing: its raw was kept as a treasure by a family before being sold and then cut into a cushion, revealing its finely crystallized material and its powerful red. This is the first time it has been unveiled to the public.
Among the other exceptional pieces is a ruby 18.12 carats, remarkable for its cushion size, which seems to be consumed in the center of a necklace reminiscent of berries dotting the groves in summer. Each of these necklaces offers eight staves. Asymmetry, another style of Van Cleef & Arpels, is expressed on a ring "Between the fingers" or a bracelet. On other pieces such as "Unisson" earrings, perfectly symmetrical in their design, it is the colors of the stones that are reversed. Dark red, pinkish red, each piece is a fire that mesmerizes the eye. "The rubies were selected one by one for the beauty of their color and their deep ambience. These elements make life throb inside the stone, "says a gemologist expert of the house.
For Nicolas Bos, president of Van Cleef & Arpels, the rubies represent power, fire and blood; the quintessence of an indomitable passion. Game of Thrones fans will appreciate. Customers too: by the time we print these lines, these jewels have probably all been sold.