Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
For more than a century, the designs of the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels have represented the marriage of an unrivalled sense of elegance with an extraordinary level of technical expertise and prowess. The comprehensive monograph Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art & Science of Gems is a glittering, gorgeous tribute to a century of luxurious, glamorous jewelry design and incomparable mastery of materials. Lavishly illustrated with meticulous photographs by Patrick Gries, the book’s pages are filled with sparkling chalcedony, cornelian, rubies, emeralds and coloured diamonds, beautifully set off and enhanced by the jeweler’s designs (at alternate moments whimsical or understated, as the materials demand). Suggesting the complexity and richness of Van Cleef & Arpels’ output, the book is organized thematically around categories such as ‘Abstractions’, ‘Couture’, ‘Nature’ and ‘Icons’, and additionally features some of the legendary stones from the annals of the house’s history, such as the ‘Blue Princess’ sapphire and the ‘Walska Briolette Diamond’ brooch. Texts by art historians, personalities from the fashion world and mineralogists offer context and highlight the full extent of the jeweler’s art. Essential for those who love and lust after jewelry design, this eminently covetable volume celebrates the Van Cleef & Arpels style.