Here's a look at Van Cleef & Arpels' fascinating Treasure of Rubies collection
3,000 carats of certified rubies
Tell us about the Treasure of Rubies collection and why it was almost impossible to make?
The story of Treasure of rubies collection has started a few years ago. At that time, we did not have certainty that we would be able to gather enough rubies according to Van Cleef & Arpels' stringent criteria to create a whole dedicated collection. The stone experts only selected rubies with an exceptional color and quality, but above all precious stones that instill an emotion. At Van Cleef & Arpels we call them Pierres de Caractère.
What were the challenges you faced in sourcing these rare rubies?
The challenge was high as rubies are much sought-after and often even rarer than diamonds. The Maison succeeded in bringing together more than 3000 carats of rubies for the first time, in an ensemble of 60 unique creations.
How involved were you in the creative process? What part did you play?
From the stone selection, to the research sketches and the birth of the creations, I always have at heart to follow the creative process. Indeed it is important for me to help preserving the Maison's DNA and sources of inspiration but also to give a new impulsion for today's collections.
What kind of images did you have on the mood board for the Treasures of Rubies collection?
We prefer to speak in terms of inspirations. The collection is an exercise of style on a single gem that has long fascinated civilizations, but for the design of the pieces, we have also been influenced by themes dear to the Maison, such as nature, couture or Indian aesthetics.
There are a lot of changes when it comes to techniques because of technology. How do you make sure you're at the forefront of innovation?
For Van Cleef & Arpels, the technique is at the service of the creation as its main role is to tell stories. When the Maison invests time and energy in research and development, it is in order to enhance the pieces aesthetic and creativity. For instance, after several years, the Maison managed to use the technique of Navette Mystery Set on buff-topped emeralds and diamonds for the first time. The Pomme de pin clip is the epitome of this achievement.
But also, how do you incorporate the brand's formidable past in its present-day jewels?
The Maison's current inspirations and creations are intrinsically linked to its history. We have at heart to keep alive this heritage and express it while reinventing our style through the creative process and technical innovation. Some major sources of inspiration - nature, couture or dance for instance - as well as emblematic savoir-faire developed in the 1930s are still very relevant for us today. Each creation is a question of balance between tradition and modernity.
Do you find that in a climate of getting as many sales as possible, creativity has waned? How do you protect that at Van Cleef & Arpels?
I do not think that creativity has waned. On the contrary, the dynamism and vitality of the High Jewelry market are true sources of stimulation. More and more, the high expectations of our clients in terms of quality, creativity and rarity prompt us to push new boundaries. At Van Cleef & Arpels, we work collectively to imagine enchanting creations for the collectors and jewelry lovers worldwide, while remaining faithful to our universe and high standards.