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Monday, May 9, 2011

Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibit - Set In Style

One of the most elegant jewelers on the market, Van Cleef & Arpels began as a family business in 1896.  Two brothers-in-law set themselves up to use innovative techniques and high quality stones to draw International clients through their Paris doors.  The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum explores their legacy at their exhibit, Set In Style, The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.  

The museum demonstrates how the company was an innovator in unique stone-setting techniques to display jewels in a unique way.  The company was also a trendsetter in taking inspiration from nature and foreign cultures.  Their snowflakes and bird motifs have always been popular.  The exoticism trend of the 1920's was seen in their Egyptian influenced handbag above, then through Cambodian and Japanese motifs in later years.

This piece was one of my favorites of the collection,  This jeweled bird is illustrated beautifully in stones.  However, I love the multi-tasking nature of the piece.  The wings can be removed and become earrings.  The tail can be removed to be a brooch.  The stone drop can be worn separately as a pendant around your neck.

Throughout the exhibit, you can also see the work process from sketch to finished product.  The museum also highlights the personalities that have either made certain pieces famous (and vice versa).  Jewelry owned by Hollywood legends like Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich are on display.

For the ultimate in glamor, surround yourself in all the glitters.  The exhibit runs until July 4th, 2011.
2 East 91st Street New York, NY 10128

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