‘Unlike old romantic black and white depictions of the skies, all the recent imagery show it’s actually amazingly colourful,’ says CEO and president of Van Cleef & Arpels, Nicolas Bos. The cosmos is the inspiration for the new high jewellery collection, Sous les Etoiles, which draws galaxies, curving comets and celestial figures in brilliant precious stones. ‘If you look at those pictures with the eyes of a jeweller, you see stones,’ he adds. ‘The constellations immediately make you think of sapphires or opals, lapis lazuli, pyrite.’

Bos brings this wealth of colour to life for the new collection which returns to celestial themes a decade after Les Voyages Extraordinaires, the collection which drew its inspiration from a Jules Verne novel. The heavens have long fascinated the maison, from the chic black enamel cigarette cases of the Twenties to the romantic complication watches this century.

van cleef
van cleef

These new pieces bring together pyrite-flecked lapis lazuli with chalcedonies and tanzanites cast into hyponisting forms, with mauve sapphires and coral adding a heavenly pop to a bracelet. In the Saturne clip, rings of diamonds circle a half-sphere of hammered yellow gold, with threads of yellow gold under the rings bringing the piece to life. ‘Drawing is two-dimensional, the challenge for the jeweller is to use expertise to bring in a third dimension and give the feeling of movement,’ say Bos. ‘You’re working with the hardest materials that exist – it’s why they last forever – but to use these materials to create feelings of life and movement is a challenge. In this brooch, it could be a flat representation but we work on the volume and play with the reflection of the stones to bring real depth.’ §

van cleef
van cleef