Fashion / Style File

A Glittering New River Oaks Store Quietly Opens

The Mystery Sets This Luxury Palace Apart

BY // 02.06.16

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.

The Van Cleef & Arpels boutique at River Oaks District

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