Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his two brothers-in-law, Charles and Julian Arpels, at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris. Their important design innovations include the invisible setting, the minaudière and the Zip necklace. In 1939, they opened an office in Rockefeller Center in New York, moving three years later to 744 Fifth Avenue where they are today. Their impressive client list includes royalty, socialites, and Hollywood stars such as Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace, Liz Taylor, and the Duchess of Windsor. In 1999, Van Cleef & Arpels became part of the Richemont Group. They have locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Leaves and flowers have been a motif used in jewelry for as long as humans have been adorning themselves with decorative objects. Before the use of metals, it’s possible to imagine flowers and vines entwined around the wrist, neck, and crowning the head. Jewelry from the royal tombs of Ur (dating back to 3,000 BCE) featured elaborate necklaces and headdresses with hammered gold leaves, and in the millennium to follow, foliate forms were closely entwined with jewelry.
These ear clips by Van Cleef & Arpels feature a beautifully detailed marguerite, or daisy, a symbol of innocence and purity evoking flower chains and warm sunny meadows. The polished gold is finished with detailed striations on the petals and cross hatching on the center to recall the textured of the flower. The fine finishing on these ear clips was done by the accomplished French workshop Péry et Fils, who created important jewelry for all the great French houses, including the iconic zip necklace for VCA. The company also made flexible tubogas (including the convertible passe partout), whimsical creature brooches, and textured gold and gem-set pieces.
Péry et Fils was so important to Van Cleef & Arpels that in 2012 they acquired the firm, along with the archives, the old tools, the 3500 plasters, the 65,000 drawings, and all the employees. This inventive pair of ear clips is an exceptional jewel created by a storied maker for the iconic Van Cleef & Arpels firm. It is the perfect jewelry essential.