Van Cleef & Arpels Lagune Précieuse necklace from Seven Seas collection with diamonds, sapphires and aquamarines set in 18K white gold.
Van Cleef & Arpels, Constellation Coq clip from Voyages Extraordinaires collection with 4.41-carat tsavorine garnet, 1.51-carat ruby, violet sapphire, rubies, diamonds and blue sapphires set in 18K white gold.
When the daughter of a precious dealer met the son of a stone cutter, it was love at first sight. Estelle Arpels married Alfred Van Cleef and consummated the marriage by founding the infamous Van Cleef & Arpels in 1906, across from the Hotel Ritz in Paris.
More than a century later, Houston is feeling the love, too. Texas’ first freestanding Van Cleef & Arpels boutique opened quietly here at River Oaks District. An ombré exterior, glittering chandeliers, and custom gold-leaf handpainted wall coverings are the backdrop for one of the most storied jewelry maisons in the world.
Van Cleef is widely known for its Alhambra (four-leaf clover) collection, but the Houston boutique showcases all the collections and timepieces, as well as the high jewelry collected and coveted by some of the house’s most storied customers — the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among them.
Some say it’s the proprietary “mystery” — or invisible-prong gem setting — style employed in the high jewelry that sets Van Cleef apart. These brilliant and whimsical brooches, necklaces and rings are inspired by nature, culture and the imaginary world, with only a select few created each year; a single one can require in excess of 300 hours of work. A labor of love, indeed.