Alhambra Bracelet Van Cleef & Arpels : Iconic Patterns

Alhambra Bracelet Van Cleef & Arpels : Iconic Patterns

The Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra bracelet is a key motif in the Van Cleef & Arpels repertoire. A pendant whose motif is taken straight from a superstition, and a four-leaf clover… The Alhambra is the emblem of the Van Cleef house. A jeweler who seems to embrace the codes of his time: the outline of a four-leaf clover, as an echo to the wish of health, good fortune, luck and love.

Bracelet Alhambra Van Cleef & Arpels : Clover Jewelry

The Alhambra is the symbol of timeless inspired by the four-leaf clover… A signature that entered the Van Clef repertoire in 1968, and of which Nicolas Bos, current CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, speaks thus: “Created by Van Cleef & Arpels that year, in a tradition of excellence and craftsmanship, the Alhambra sautoir has captured the spirit of the times and offered new ways of wearing a jewel on a daily basis. In fifty years, it has become a benchmark that has deeply influenced the history of jewelry.”

A pattern whose history is to be sought in the heart of the 60s …

The History of the Alhambra Bracelet Van Cleef & Arpels

While French society was in turmoil, the Van Cleef & Arpels workshops in Place Vendôme were about to create a piece that was very much in the spirit of the times. In 1968, the Alhambra collection is based on a timeless symbol of good fortune – a four-leaf clover motif with minimal lines and refinement for everyday wear.

Because the whole point is there; the revolution of the 70’s is above all a revolution placing in its heart an aesthetic a little less flashy and much more superstitious. Carried by the New Age movement, Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is inspired…

The Alhambra motif is a break with traditional pieces – overloaded with precious stones – and is cast in a simple, light, eminently refined gold. In rings, earrings, necklaces or bracelets, the company’s motif can be worn in all variations. In diamonds, yellow or white gold… This symbol of luck is absolutely chic !

“It is impossible to say what the exact origin of the four-lobed motif is. Neither abstract nor figurative, it obviously refers to the motif very present in the gardens of the Alhambra in Granada, but it also evokes a four-leaf clover that Jacques Arpels, who was very superstitious, might have proposed,” says Catherine Cariou, Director of Heritage for Van Cleef & Arpels. The first piece in this collection to attract interest, the yellow gold sautoir decorated with white mother-of-pearl, became the symbol of this new elegance.

But very quickly, it is in bracelet version that it finds grace in the eyes of the cultural icons of his time. Its ravishing allure soon convinced Françoise Hardy, Grace Kelly and Romy Schneider… But the one who definitively elevated the Alhambra to the rank of icon of international jewelry was Elizabeth Taylor.

Her version of the Alhambra necklace is the most expensive ever exchanged at an auction. The rock crystal piece, the rarest variation, went for $470,000 at Christie’s in 2012.

But this pattern is ultimately a perfect canvas for jewelry whimsy. For jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, the Alhambra signature is one of the most inspiring motifs ever. Each year brings new versions – pieces in diamond and rose gold, diamond and white gold, grey mother-of-pearl or onyx… And it is in bracelets that the Alhambra motifs gain in wonder, so much so that once clasped on the wrist, the Alhambra will sublimate the Van Cleef & Arpels inspiration.

Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra, some key dates

2018 : The house expands its watch offering with the  Sweet Alhambra available in fifty pieces.

2018 : To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, the house creates four models of the Alhambra available in limited edition.

2018 : On the occasion of the Alhambra’s fiftieth anniversary, photographer Damian Foxe makes a declaration of love to the design.

2016 : The house produces a making-off of the making of the jewelry in the Alhambra collection.

2013 : For the forty-fifth anniversary of the Alhambra, a malachite version was released.

2012 : The house now offers customers to engrave a text on the back of the Alhambra.

2012 : For the holiday season, the house offers an Alhambra model available in limited edition, adorned with white mother-of-pearl and a round diamond sparkling in its heart.

2012 : Five new models in amourette wood and rose gold, available in limited edition, complete the Alhambra Vintage collection.

2012 : Van Cleef & Arpels declines the Alhambra four-lobed motif in amourette wood.

2012 : For its winter campaign, the house highlights its Alhambra motif with the Twinkling Magic Alhambra necklace.

2012 : During the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry at Christie’s, the Alhambra necklace was sold for 47,500 euros.

2011 : For the season, the house revisits the vintage Alhambra with a set in pink gold and pierced with a pistil tone on tone or set with a diamond, as well as the Magic Alhambra, in white gold and entirely paved with diamonds.

2011 : Princess Charlene of Monaco wears an Alhambra necklace

2008 : For its fortieth anniversary, the house offers a combination of materials, such as earrings in pink gold and gray mother of pearl.

2007 : The Sweet Alhambra collection was created with brightly colored hearts and butterflies.

2006 : For the centenary of the house, three collections are launched : Magic Alhambra, Lucky Alhambra and Byzantine Alhambra.

2001 : The Pure Alhambra collection, later renamed Vintage Alhambra, was launched.

1998 : The designers produce the first Alhambra watches.

1983 : The company now offers models with gray mother-of-pearl.

1981 : The company now offers models with white mother of pearl.

1975 : Grace Kelly had a private collection made.

1974 : Romy Schneider adopts the Alhambra necklace.

1974 : Françoise Hardy adopts the Alhambra 2-turn necklace.

1973 : Prince Rainier gives Grace of Monaco an Alhambra necklace.

1971 : The house now offers models with hard stones.

1968 : The Alhambra pattern is created. The first model is a long necklace in yellow gold.

Telling You More About… The Alhambra Pattern From Van Cleef & Arpels

Limited Edition Alhambra by Van Cleef & Arpels

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