Gold Link Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, circa 1960
A necklace, composed of round, oval and folded links of gold creating an elaborate and flexible chain necklace; in 18-karat gold, with French assay marks
- Signed VCA and numbered
- Measurements: 16 1/8 x 5/8 inches
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.
For thousands of years, elaborate gold chains have been a mark of power and loyalty. Since the Middle Ages in England the livery collar (or chain of office), typically a thick gold chain, has been draped across the shoulders of rulers and was favored by Henry VIII. His first wife, Catherine of Aragon was painted in the fifteenth century wearing a surprisingly modern gold chain link necklace. Gold has been a favored metal for its beautiful warm color, its durability, and rarity.
During the 1950s the gold necklace became an important wardrobe staple. The privation of the years during World War II meant that jewelers had to innovate with the materials they had on hand, platinum was not obtainable, and stones were difficult to get. The finest houses rose to the challenge, and Van Cleef & Arpels entered the 1950s with innovative new designs in gold that were wearable for any occasion. As the decade went on the designs became more oversized and unusual.
This design features a series of circular, oval and folded link in high polished gold woven together to create a wonderful wearable piece that feels substantial in the hand. A mark of a great chain is beauty, flexibility, and strength, which are apparent in this exceptional piece that is as wearable today as when it was made.