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From February 18 to June 5, 2011, the “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” exhibition took place at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, a city that has hosted the Maison since the late 1930s.
Bringing together more than 300 jewelry pieces, watches, precious accessories and other objets d’art, this exhibition, designed by Sarah Coffin – at the time Curator and Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts – highlighted Van Cleef & Arpels’ influence on 20th century design history. Showcased in a space devised by designer Patrick Jouin, the selection took visitors on a dreamlike journey through a century of creation. The itinerary revolved around six themes reflecting the Van Cleef & Arpels universe: innovation, transformation, nature, exoticism, fashion and celebrities.
The Maison’s savoir-faire particularly came out in a Mystery Set floral clip (circa 1937), as well as the transformable necklace adorned with drop-shaped emeralds (1926-1928) that once belonged to Daisy Fellowes, a symbol of the glamor and elegance of European High Society in the 20th century. The creations on display also included the pearl and diamond jewelry ensemble (1953-1956) offered to Princess Grace of Monaco as a wedding gift by Prince Rainier.