The “paillette” motif: a sunny and timeless aesthetic

With its sumptuously rounded graphic lines, the Bouton d’or collection traces its roots back to the “paillette” motif, first introduced by the Maison in 1936 to grace necklaces and clips. Reminiscent of sequins, very much in fashion in the 1930s, it is made up of a yellow gold disc with a precious stone set in the center. This motif gave rise to opulently supple, flowing creations that seemed to echo the world of couture, a key source of inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels.

    Drawing featuring a Paillettes clip, 1948,  Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

    Drawing featuring a Paillettes clip, 1948, Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

    Paillettes clip, 1948 Patrick Gries, Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

    Paillettes clip, 1948, Patrick Gries, Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

During the 1940s, the Maison presented varying interpretations of these golden discs: assembled on a domed ring, gracing the strands of a lavish necklace or mounted on a sparkling bouquet clip. Set with rubies, turquoise or diamonds, the motifs instill elegant volume in ballerinas’ tutus, created by the Maison during the same period. They burst forth in a “Coupes or” clip and earrings in 1942, subsequently tracing the contours of precious "Fourragères” as of 1943.

The 1950s saw continued success for this bright and joyous aesthetic. Simple or interwoven bracelets, as well as earrings bedecked with paillettes, accented contemporary fashions singular for their grace and femininity.

Van Cleef & Arpels reinterpreted this iconic motif in 2016, as part of the Bouton d’or jewelry collection. Diamonds, gold, mother-of-pearl and ornamental stones come together in bold creations characterized by elegant interplays of volume and color. Necklaces, fluidly embracing the neckline, mingle with subtly asymmetrical bracelets, earrings that appear to dance with every movement of the body, stunning high-relief rings and generous pendants.