Typically, essentially the most fantastical of tales are rooted exactly in actuality. For his or her gorgeous Legend of Diamonds excessive jewelry assortment, Van Cleef & Arpels finds inspiration not, as per home code, in fabled locations inked between time-aged pages of fairytales however, relatively, the Maison’s personal, distinguished archives. Oh, and a giant, huge, huge diamond.
The phrase “legendary” — alongside equally dramatised and, oftentimes, undeserved adjectives like “iconic” or, for the People, “superior” — is a phrase used a lot too liberally in modern-day vernacular.
Whether or not the adjective is used to explain heroics that tender in direction of the legendary or as a phrase applauding exceptional actions and achievements, “legendary” serves as a response; a standing ovation handed down via “Bravos!” in acknowledgement of a superlative set of occasions that’s already transpired and is, now, settling into mud.
Diamonds, although? Particularly, a tough diamond weighing in at 910 (910!) carats? Sure, agreed. Legendary.
The faceted cuts of gems and diamonds shimmering via Van Cleef & Arpels’ vibrant historical past have, for essentially the most half, legendary tales of their very own. In 1921, the pear-shaped, brilliant-cut Prince Edward of York, named in honour of its eponym’s delivery, was described as being so scintillating “all day lengthy a human hedge stands in ecstasy earlier than its magnificence.” Then, there was Princess Fawzia of Egypt’s wedding ceremony parure, which included a tiara with 57 pear-shaped, sensible diamonds and a necklace with 90, all of which took six months of looking to gather and full. Then, nonetheless, there have been 200 carats of spherical and baguette diamonds dripping off Queen Nazli of Egypt’s collarette necklace, now included in Van Cleef & Arpels’ patrimony assortment.
It’s not simply white diamonds, although. Vibrant diamonds even have a spot within the Maison’s archives, as evidenced by the Blue Coronary heart, worn by dancer Zizi Jeanmaire to the Ball of Versaille; the Princie diamond, a 34.64-carat cushion-cut pink diamond claimed to have been owned because the 18th century by the Nizams of Hyderabad, which offered most just lately at Christie’s for upwards of US$39 million in 2013; the 96.62-carat briolette-cut yellow diamond as soon as owned by the singer Ganna Walska which, now, sits mounted on a Fowl clip — and so forth.
These diamonds have led legendary lives; have been beloved and cherished. Have been, maybe, misplaced, then discovered; handed down and auctioned off earlier than being remounted in Van Cleef & Arpels’ Thriller-Set creations. These shiny, shiny deposits of carbon and mineral may need as soon as been promised as dedications of everlasting love. Possibly even twice; thrice. They may have shone via the Roaring ‘20s; may need twinkled at soirées you and I can solely dream of attending; may need swung in step as secrets and techniques are traded and handed on with whispers. Whether or not fact or tidbits of fanciful fiction, these treasured gems have glistened via time we now regard as historical past. The stuff of legend, some may say.
However what’s uncommon and great is bearing witness to the primary inklings of “legend”; the hint hints of one thing extraordinary to return. In fact there’s grandeur to listening in on marvellous tales, however to be current and, past that, to have the ability to take part and have palms and all ten fingers within the creation of one thing to be thought to be legend? That’s one thing particular. And that’s exactly the great thing about the Lesotho Legend, the 910-carat (sure, you learn that appropriately) tough diamond Van Cleef & Arpels’ new Legend of Diamond excessive jewelry assortment has been meticulously chiselled from.
“The Maison seldom works with tough stones,” says Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels. “We historically begin with minimize and faceted stones which might be already appropriate to be used in jewelry. That is the primary time in a long time that we have now been concerned in a mission from its place to begin — the extraction of the stone — to the creation of a Excessive Jewelry assortment. The looks of this extraordinary tough stone gave us this distinctive alternative to inform a narrative across the diamond.”
The Lesotho Legend, offered to Van Cleef & Arpels by long-time diamond-dealing companion Taché in 2018, is the fifth largest tough diamond ever mined. Whereas definitely spectacular, its gargantuan, 910-carat stature just isn’t the one criterion making it a very spectacular discovery. Its good D color, crystallisation and kind 2A chemical composition — in layman’s phrases, that simply means the diamond is chemically the purest with the best optical readability — are all cardinal particulars that make the Lesotho Legend, nicely, legendary.
“Discovering a stone of this measurement in its pure state is actually emotional,” says the director of Van Cleef & Arpels’ stones division. “It’s the type of factor we dream of however don’t dare to think about. We’re right here in the beginning of this diamond, after its formation, when there has not but been any human intervention. After I see a tough stone like this, I wish to preserve it this fashion, as a result of it’s so lovely.”
Sadly for the director however very thankfully for us, the Lesotho Legend does get the axe through the knowledgeable manoeuvring of Diamcad, the main diamond cutter in Antwerp. And what got here out of the state-of-the-art chopping, positioning, faceting and sprucing have been 67 diamonds of Flawless to Internally Flawless high quality; all totalling 441.75 carats, together with a single 79.35-carat specimen — the heaviest of the 67 — stationed because the centrepiece of the gathering’s Atours Mystérieux necklace.
The beating coronary heart of Legend of Diamonds, the Atours Mystérieux’s sensible, oval-cut white diamond is complemented by rubies held afloat by the Maison’s long-patented Conventional and Particular person Thriller Set settings. Drawing inspiration from the late ‘30s, the masterpiece’s two-toned composition is a direct reference to Van Cleef & Arpels’ collerette necklace, whereas its undulating shapes are a nod to a different diamond-strewn creation designed for Queen Nazli of Egypt. The Atours Mystérieux — a testomony to the Maison’s technical ingenuity — can also be transformable with an Particular person Thriller Set composition that may exchange the 79.35-carat must you want for a distinct way-of-wearing. Intelligent!
The remainder of the 25-piece Legend of Diamond excessive jewelry assortment continues to nod to so lots of Van Cleef & Arpels already current designs, together with the curving shapes of the Floating Ribbon brooch from 1937; the graphic traces of the Disques earrings from two years prior; and the assorted cuts of couture that has impressed the Maison since its genesis.
Legend, as with all tales stored sacred, has to begin someplace. Van Cleef & Arpels’ new excessive jewelry assortment — carved, fairly actually, from stone — simply so occurs to begin someplace huge. Someplace already legendary.