A Maison born from a love story Once upon a time, a real-life fairy tale was born out of love and precious stones. It began in 1895, with the Paris wedding of Estelle Arpels, daughter of a gemstone dealer, and Alfred Van Cleef, son of a lapidary. In 1906, the Maison was founded at 22, Place Vendôme, uniting these two names in a single jeweled destiny.
Since then, the ampersand “&” has formed an unshakeable bond, symbolizing both this union of individuals and skills and the blend of excellence and poetry that distinguishes Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations. The celebration of emotions continues today through the Maison’s creations.
From wedding bands to engagement rings to jewelry sets, each piece reflects the enchanting universe of Van Cleef & Arpels, its consummate savoir-faire, and the standards of excellence that guide the selection of stones. Since 1906, the Maison has exalted the expression of feelings. Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef on their wedding day, 1895 Van Cleef & Arpels Archives 3 Love as a source of inspiration Van Cleef & Arpels has been the faithful companion of love stories since its foundation.
A true symbol of destiny, the first piece mentioned in the 1906 sales records was a heart set with diamonds. Many creations would later illuminate the most famous romances, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Grace Kelly’s wedding with H.S.H. Prince Rainier of Monaco. Today, the celebration of feelings continues to imbue the Maison’s collections with poetry and enchantment. From High Jewelry to Watches to Jewelry, they express all the nuances of love and the emotion of shared moments.
Jewelry set offered by H.S.H. Prince Rainier to H.S.H. Princess Grace for their wedding in 1956 © Van Cleef & Arpels SA - Patrick Gries 4 This theme injects its rhythm into Van Cleef & Arpels’ Poetry of Time, offering a vision of watchmaking steeped in dreams and emotion. One of the most iconic examples is the Pont des Amoureux collection, introduced in 2010, which celebrates feelings ranging from the sweetness of first love to the thrill of long-awaited reunions. Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux Jour and Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux watches 5 6 A passion for exceptional stones Diamonds have always fascinated thanks to their exceptional properties, such as strength, purity, and ability to reflect light. Their vibrant, captivating brilliance has never ceased to amaze Van Cleef & Arpels.
Since the Maison’s founding in 1906, it has stood out for its rigorous stone selection, infusing its creations with a remarkable intensity. All diamonds featured in the collections are subject to a double verification process. They meet the internationally recognized “4 Cs” criteria, which determine their quality based on color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. In keeping with the Maison’s tradition of excellence, only the highest grades are chosen: D to F for color and IF to VVS for clarity.
Along with this first step, which allows for an objective evaluation, comes an in-depth inspection by the Van Cleef & Arpels experts. The Stone Department examines the gems with the characteristic high standards and taste of the Maison. The quality of paved-set diamonds is systematically checked with a 10x magnifying glass as part of a rigorous internal process, while each center stone is carefully examined to assess its beauty, the vitality that enlivens it, and the elegance of its cut. Many unique characteristics distinguish one gem from another.