Van Cleef & Arpels‘ new line of feminine and versatile pieces are inspired by a centuries-old jewellery craft.
Flaunting signature tiny hand-polished gold beads that were introduced in 2008, the Perlée collection draws its aesthetic design and savoir faire from Van Cleef & Arpels’ rich history. Granulation, a jewellery method featuring beads fashioned out of precious metals, is said to have originated in Mesopotamia (now known as Iraq) and dates as far back as 2500BC. However, it was only in the ’20s, during the Egyptian Revival art period that followed the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, that the maison revived the ancient craft.
Showcasing minute, visually striking gold spheres that frame gemstones and motifs, these designs gained popularity from the Couscous line in 1948, as the beads were produced in various dimensions and incorporated in more styles ranging from necklaces to watches.
The shiny round nuggets took on an exuberant quality and made their way into the Twist collection in 1963, an era defined by supple, fluid shapes. Arranged in straight rows, braids or twisted compositions, they were paired with other precious materials such as pearls, coral and ornamental stones. Then, in 1968, the gilded spheres were included into the Alhambra collection by enhancing the iconic good-luck clover motifs with a textured border.
Today, the new six-piece Perlée Sweet Clovers range enriches the emblematic collection’s five sub-lines: Perlée Signature, Perlée Diamonds, Perlée Clovers, Perlée Couleurs and Perlée Pearls of Gold. Three bracelets and three rings – in white, yellow or pink gold – offer a fresh, sweet and highly feminine iteration of the range’s distinctive design. In addition to the familiar Perlée aesthetic of a glistening gold-beaded border, the Perlée Sweet Clovers pieces are punctuated with recurring clover motifs – 10 on the bracelet and five on the ring. Drawing from the aesthetic of Perlée Clovers, each motif features a central golden bead surrounded by four round diamonds for a subtle play of light and volume. Worn on their own, in twos or threes, the bracelets pirouette around the wrist in a nimble dance, while rings dazzle as they catch the light.
The new Perlée Sweet Clovers jewels lend themselves to a myriad of combinations with the collection’s other creations for unique and personal expressions of style. Their gleeful gleam enhance the various gold hues of the Perlée Pearls of Gold rings and bracelets. For more variation, the new pieces complement the glittering ribbons of the Perlée Diamonds collection for daytime or evening finesse. Or wear them with the calligraphic etching of Perlée Signature jewels for an elegance and a free-spiritedness synonymous with the maison’s creations.
As with all Van Cleef & Arpels creations, the Perlée collection reflects the maison’s tradition of excellence. From setting to polishing, a variety of expertise come together in the creation of each jewel. Each golden bead is laboriously worked on individually by an artisan and then hand-polished in a sequence of steps until a perfectly smooth, gleaming surface is created. The savoir faire of the maison’s gemologists also do complete justice to the skill of its craftsmen. Diamonds are selected according to the strictest criteria: D to F for colour and IF to VVS for clarity. Meticulously set, they enhance Perlée Sweet Clovers pieces with the most intense shine.
To highlight the collection’s playful yet joyful universe further, Van Cleef & Arpels collaborated with artists and graphic designers who are specialists in 3D animation. Selected for their creativity, French visual artist Arthur Hoffner, German 3D illustrator and art director Friedrich Neumann, and Singaporean motion design specialist Clement Chia reinterpreted the delicately refined curves of the Perlée creations in a series of visuals and short videos evoking grace and lightness.
(All images: Van Cleef & Arpels)
This story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Prestige Singapore.
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