Does it get better than a space-themed jewel? Haute joaillerie is not designed to be functional, it is crafted to emotionally transport you, and in a year when life on Earth has seemed less than pleasurable, Van Cleef & Arpels’ jettisoning of us into the cosmos with its Sous les Étoiles collection is a most welcome distraction.
Translated from the French, Van Cleef & Arpels Sous le Étoiles simply means ‘under the stars’. With a galaxy of gemstones, swirling formations and precious planetary alignments, getting lost in this collection does make you feel as if you are indeed gazing up into the heavens.
Some of the references in the range are pleasingly literal. The Saturne clip pays homage to the famous ringed planet, with diamonds orbiting a hammered gold sphere. Van Cleef & Arpels’ famous ballerina and fairy brooches find themselves in celestial scenes with otherworldly opals radiating diamonds, lapis lazuli-backed stars and Burmese pink star sapphires that emit the rare asterism that makes them so coveted.
Van Cleef & Arpels 18ct gold and diamond Saturne brooch, price on application, enquire at Van Cleef & Arpels
The Cinel de Minuit necklace is perhaps the strongest visual reminder that the collection is not of this world. Tiles of lapis lazuli with inlaid diamonds form a collier, which is trailed by a stardust-like smattering of blue sapphires, diamonds and star formations.
Other jewels suck the gravity out of the room with unusual colour combinations, such as the ethereal Céphéide necklace. It has created a soft palate with baguette-cut bi-colour tourmalines that blend from mauve to green in a single gem, radiating out from orb-like chalcedony cabochons accented with diamonds, tsavorite garnets and purple sapphires.
Trying to bring the night sky, and all of its wonders, down to us mere mortals on Earth is not a new pursuit of Van Cleef & Arpels’; its archives have many examples of previous voyages, including the 1930s Pylônes and 1950s Météore collections. This new expedition with Sous les Étoiles, however, is well timed. As we all contemplate life in slightly bigger terms than before, why not go all the way with a trip to the outer reaches of human exploration. To infinity, and beyond.
Van Cleef & Arpels 18ct gold, diamond, tanzanite, chalcedony, sapphire and tsavorite garnet Céphéide necklace, price on application, enquire at Van Cleef & Arpels