Love Stories

Love stories at Van Cleef & Arpels

Once upon a time, there was a Maison born from a love story: the history of Van Cleef & Arpels dates back to 1895, when Estelle Arpels, daughter of a dealer in precious stones, married Alfred Van Cleef, son of a lapidary and diamond broker. In 1906, they went into business with Estelle’s brothers – Charles, followed by Julien and later Louis – to open the first Van Cleef & Arpels boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, in a Parisian neighborhood renowned for its elegance.

Since then, the ampersand “&” has been a perpetual bond, symbolizing the union of individuals and expertise, the convergence of excellence and poetry that distinguishes Van Cleef & Arpels creations. 

  • Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef on their wedding day, 1895, Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

    Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef on their wedding day, 1895, Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

A key source of inspiration for the Maison--love--has permeated its creations from the beginning: indeed, the first piece mentioned in the sales records from 1906 is a diamond heart. In the years that followed, many creations were designed to accompany famous love affairs, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. Expressions of love stand out as a constant in each of the Maison’s collections: engagement rings and wedding bands, not to mention watches and High Jewelry creations.

Love imparts its own rhythm into the Poetry of Time at Van Cleef & Arpels, putting forth a vision of watchmaking imbued with dreams and emotions. Perfectly illustrating this spirit, the Pont des Amoureux collection celebrates the intensity of a long-awaited rendezvous, portraying two figures moving towards each other for a kiss.

Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux watch

Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux watch White gold, Diamond ¥935,000

Histoires d’amour High Jewelry watches echo the same theme through tales of legendary lovers. Designed as tributes to three mythical couples – Aida and Radames, Ulysses and Penelope, and Tristan and Iseult – interlacing precious stones and deftly concealed dials refine the art of mystery: an ode to love captured in all its evocative and wondrous power.

In 2019, Van Cleef & Arpels reinterpreted William Shakespeare’s ultimate masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet. Inspired by the timeless passion of these star-crossed lovers, the Maison created a High Jewelry collection that combines the language of romance and gemstones.