Cover Van Cleef & Arpels' "Enchanting Garden" exhibition depicted a magical forest and fabulous gardens (Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Creative director and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, Nicolas Bos talks us through his best-loved pieces from the "Enchanting Garden" installation

Van Cleef & Arpels' Enchanting Garden exhibition, which ran from September 7 to 15 at Pedder Building in Central, focused on the magic of nature, as seen through the heritage jeweller's fairytale lens.

Nature has been a source of inspiration for the house since the 19th century and creative director and CEO Nicolas Bos dived into the jeweller’s diamond-decked archives to handpick what he considers Van Cleef’s most important depictions of flora and fauna. 

Here, Bos talks us through his best-loved pieces from the Enchanting Garden exhibition.

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Van Cleef & Arpels Zip Antique necklace/bracelet

“If I had to pick just one design that perfectly summarises what Van Cleef & Arpels is about, I’d have to choose our signature Zip necklace, which can be transformed into a bracelet. This piece isn’t a representation of nature, but it expresses what’s important to our maison, including exceptional craftsmanship. The necklace is inspired by something very basic, a zipper, and we transform it into something precious. It’s tremendously difficult— almost impossible—to work gold into a zipper design because it’s very soft metal, which makes this Zip Antique Ondée necklace even more special.”

Van Cleef & Arpels Feuillage d’Émeraude ring

“I love the emerald that’s set into this Feuillage d’Émeraude ring, which is yet another example of how Van Cleef & Arpels loves to work with exceptional stones. The emerald weighs six carats and comes from Zambia. It’s a slightly different colour to, and isn’t as deep as, a Colombian emerald but it’s very lively and looks almost electric at times. We’ve tried to showcase this energy by designing the emerald into a leaf-like structure, which is created in a way where the stone is still the hero.”

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Van Cleef & Arpels Via Cappello necklace

“Multiple rows of exceptional beads, especially emerald beads, have been appreciated by jewellery collectors for centuries. In fact, it’s probably one of the most ancient designs you’re likely to find in jewellery. Beads were worn in ancient Egypt, as well as India. Here, the role of the jeweller is to highlight the beauty of the beads while using a very simple structure. The resulting necklace, I’m sure you’ll agree, is striking.” 

Van Cleef & Arpels Éventails butterfly brooch

“This beautiful pin is so feminine. Our butterfly-inspired pieces remind me of a classical symphony, which consists of several large sections or movements that develop over time. When you’re designing jewellery that takes its cue from a muse as universal as the butterfly, you have to find a way to give it its own interpretation. The Éventails butterfly brooch uses our Mystery Setting technique, which hides metal prongs to give the allusion that the mounted diamonds and coloured gemstones are suspended mid-air. I like the shape of the butterfly’s antenna and the marquise-cut diamonds, which add a beautiful balance to the wings.” 

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Van Cleef & Arpels Jardin de Rubis necklace/brooch

“Here at Van Cleef & Arpels, we are well known for our choice of stones, particularly coloured stones like sapphires and emeralds. The Jardin de Rubis necklace showcases an exceptional ruby, which is of the highest quality. This jewel boasts a type of red that you don’t always find in traditional rubies, which can typically look a bit pink or brown. This necklace is incredibly grand and, like the Zip Antique Ondée, can be transformed; the pendant can be removed and worn as a brooch or collar jewel.” 

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