ART DECO PLATINUM, CARVED RUBY, AND DIAMOND NECKLACE BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, PARIS, 1929
A necklace of graduated double row design composed of carved rubies of foliate pattern spaced by square-cut and round diamonds, accented at the sides and at the back with diamond-set links; mounted in platinum, with French assay mark
- 82 carved rubies, total weighing 114.24 carats
- 288 round, baguette and square-cut diamonds, total weighing 8.27 carats
- Signed Van Cleef & Arpels; numbered 32993
- Copy of original drawing
- Length: 16 1/4 inches
- Gagarina, Elena, et. al. India: Jewels that Enchanted the World. Moscow: Indo-Russian Jewellery Foundation, 2014, pp. 338–9.
- India: Jewels that Enchanted the World, The Moscow Kremlin Museum, Russia, April 10—July 27, 2014.
- Promised loan to The Jazz Age: Art and Design in 1920s America, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum, New York, April 7–August 20, 2017; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, September 23, 2017–January 14, 2018.
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.
Some of the most impressive and iconic necklaces were created during the Art Deco period from 1920 to 1940. Designers in this era abandoned the formality of previous decades, creating bold jewels in a riot of color. Among the most magnificent are Cartier’s Hindu necklace created with carved gemstones in the Tutti Frutti style for Daisy Fellowes, Van Cleef & Arpels’ necklace designed as a twisted and fringed torrent of rubies and diamonds for the Duchess of Windsor, Mauboussin’s vase de fleurs sautoir of carved gemstones in the form of an elaborate vase of flowers, and Cartier’s monumental carved emerald and sapphire necklaces, one of which was owned by Princess Andrée Aga Khan. This stunning ruby and diamond necklace made by Van Cleef & Arpels falls among the great necklaces.
For this jewel, Van Cleef & Arpels combined outstanding quality with the essence of the Art Deco movement. The exotic is beautifully mingled with the geometric and angular in the use of foliate-inspired carved Indian rubies within a background of square-cut and baguette diamonds and rectangular buckle-shaped links. The quality of carved rubies is exceptional, with a rich, deep color. All of these parts are skillfully set in platinum that is minimally visible and allows the piece to move freely like fabric. This necklace melds together the ideal with the precise by beautifully and expertly displaying the exquisite carved rubies in a bold Art Deco design.
While Cartier was well known for great jewels incorporating carved colored gemstones of Indian origin, it is exceedingly rare to find an Art Deco piece by Van Cleef & Arpels that uses carved stones. According to the Van Cleef & Arpels archive, between 1929 and 1939, just eighteen ruby necklaces were made by the firm and this necklace is the only one created with carved rubies. This jewel is also important as an early example of the classic ruby and diamond color palette iconic of Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1940s. This magnificent and important necklace, with unmatched color and craftsmanship, would be an exceptional acquisition for any collector.