Retro Gold, Emerald and Diamond Bracelet by Verger Frères for Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, circa 1940
A wide flexible bracelet composed of two bands of raised rectangular gold links collet-set with emeralds, the center with a band of cylindrical gold links, all accented by three ornate bombé enhancements set with emeralds and diamonds; mounted in 18 karat gold and platinum
- Signed Van Cleef et Arpels; with maker’s mark for Verger Frères; inscribed 145 C.F
- Measurements: 8 1/8 x 1 1/5 x 5/8 inches
Raulet, Sylvie. Van Cleef & Arpels. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1987, p. 180-181.
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.
The onset of World War II in 1939 influenced the production of jewelry all over Europe, as precious metals were restricted to wartime uses. The importation routes of diamonds and colored stones were also affected, and many designers abandoned the use of large stones for smaller colored gems incorporating them with large metallic surfaces. As a result of the restrictions, jewelers had to get creative with their designs. The large sculptural jewels of the late 1930s morphed into wearable pieces realized in the more readily available yellow gold. Van Cleef & Arpels beautifully transitioned into a new style of the 1940s creating icons perfectly representing the period such as the Ludo-Hexagone bracelet, the snowflake brooches, and the ballerina clip. They also offered more unusual pieces, such as this fantastic flexible bracelet.
Bracelets were one of the most popular jewels of the 1940s and were voluminous in size, typically consisting of a wide articulated strap with sculptural details. This bracelet features two large polished gold straps composed of raised rectangular links each collet-set with emeralds, a tubular polished gold strand travels down the center. Large sculptural bombe form accents are covered in emeralds with platinum and diamond frames. This flexible jewel is impeccably constructed to move and comfortably form to the wearer. The strong shapes and color combination of emerald and diamond complement each other, and the polished gold surfaces bring light and fluidity to the piece.
This bracelet was created by Verger Frères, an important manufacturer of Art Deco clocks and jewelry for all the great jewelry houses, including Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Ostertag, Tiffany and Boucheron. Verger Frères created this jewel to embody the spirit of the time through bold design and innovative construction, and the piece was important enough to appear in Sylvie Raulet’s seminal book Van Cleef & Arpels. Created by the legendary French manufacturer for a top jewelry house, this magnificent jewel is a rare and desirable find.
A RARE COLLECTIBLE JEWEL ENQUIRY
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