1992: a tribute to Van Cleef & Arpels at the Palais Galliera in Paris

In the summer of 1992, the Palais Galliera hosted the first retrospective dedicated to Van Cleef & Arpels. In his introduction to the catalogue, Jacques Arpels, then at the head of the Maison, described how he collected the major pieces on display. 

“Over 20 years ago, I set out to bring together the most beautiful creations of Van Cleef & Arpels,” he wrote. “I did so with the patience and passion of a collector. As time goes by, these jewels bear precious witness to the talent and the art of our designers and jewelers, as they do to those of all my elders.

Today, I am proud to be able to present a collection which includes over 350 pieces. From the 1920s to the present day, they retrace the evolution of the Van Cleef & Arpels style – a style founded on classicism and audacity – as well as that of its creativity and savoir-faire.  The tranquil atmosphere and majestic yet discrete architecture of the Palais make it the perfect setting to display the creations of Van Cleef & Arpels. The Maison’s pieces appear innately suited to this environment – free from the tethers of time and, paradoxically, those of fashion – where my elders exhibited some of their most beautiful creations back in 1929.”

The Galliera ensemble was created specially for the exhibition. Representing a full year of work, it includes a necklace, a pair of earrings and a Mystery SetTM ring. In total, 1,717 rubies and 34 marquise-cut diamonds sparkle on these generous compositions, setting off their velvety radiance.