The Van Cleef & Arpels Zip Necklace

Invented in the 19th century, in the United States, the zip is aimed at quickly closing the boots and clothes of marines and pilots. In 1938, the zipper was going to be given a whole new life through the creation of Van Cleef & Arpels masterful new piece. The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, suggested to Renée Puissant, the artistic manager of the company at that time, to craft a piece using the zipper. A product of the technical genius of the jeweller, and after 13 years of work, the very first Zip necklace was on the shelves in 1950 – brilliant diamonds and a ringlet mounted on platinum, the icon was immediately established!

This is a chameleon piece. A work of a master craftsman which, being adjustable can be worn openly around the neck, or closed firmly around the wrist. The workshops also took care to mould the flexibility of the object – in order to guarantee that it would fall perfectly, tracing the fluidity of female movement with an infallible grace. Worn as a lengthy chain or a shortened choker necklace, this flagship model carries the reputation of the company to this day. For that reason the Zip is made from an exceptional alloy… Beginning with an entirely functional object, intended to be hidden, Van Cleef & Arpels take a unique twist on an everyday device to create a magisterial piece of jewellery. It is the first piece which truly shows the growing influence of Haute Couture in high end jewellery, the Van Cleef & Arpels Zip was able to master the marriage between metals and precious stones like no other piece could. 

Rubies, emeralds or sapphires… the most current versions of the iconic necklace a running a little wild; filling themselves with multi-coloured sapphires, lapis-lazuli, turquoise and chrysoprase, pearls or white mother-of-pearl dial… Constructed with the same attentiveness that a dressmaker might have with his/her fabrics, the Zip necklace still shows the skill of Van Cleef & Arpels “Mains d’Or”. A masterful piece which lacks neither charm nor attraction – undoubtedly one of the most desirable items of our time! 



2015: Margot Robbie wears an iconic Van Cleef & Arpels zip necklace to the 2015 Oscars. Her love for the piece is clear as she claims ““The necklace is worth more than my life!”.

2012: Van Cleef & Arpels advertise the transferability of the zip necklace as a wrist bracelet. 

2011: Van Cleef & Arpels launch a stunning new set of four zip necklaces from their headquarters in Paris.

2006: Van Cleef & Arpel release a luxurious version of an old classic: the Paris Champs de Mars zip necklace.

1954: A revisited zip necklace is released: a stunning yellow gold piece set with diamonds and rubies.

1950: The zip necklace first hit the shelves.

1938: The Duchess of Windsor suggested creating a piece based on the zip fastener, which was destined for stardom.

1925: The first example of zippers being used on commercially marketed clothing appeared around 10 years after it was invented.

1917: One of the earliest designs produced for a modern day zipper was submitted for patent. It was labelled as a “Separable Fastener”.

1906: Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery company is founded.

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