Jewels & Time 2020: Van Cleef & Arpels’ Ode to the Winter Blossom
It may be winter (according to the fashion calendar), but flowers are blooming all the same at Van Cleef & Arpels. Those who are well acquainted with the French maison’s collections will recognise the Rose de Nöel line as one of its signatures—a line that gets its turn in the spotlight towards the end of every year.
The reason is obvious—the collection takes its form from the unusual Christmas rose, or hellebore, which only blooms in the heart of winter and in regions that experience cold weather during the period. Rose de Nöel has existed since 1970, when Van Cleef & Arpels unveiled the very first designs in pink coral, yellow gold and diamonds. Ever since then, the collection has taken on a wide range of colours, materials, as well as sizes, to accommodate different tastes and occasions. You might recall seeing the floral-motif jewellery in mother-of-pearl, chalcedony or chrysoprase, as well as in small- to very large-sized interpretations.
This year, the collection sees the introduction of a new size—a mini version of the blossom on pendants and earrings, in mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli. Also available are small quantities of coral models that echo the original Rose de Nöel pieces.
At the same time, a brand-new collection that also pays tribute to the Christmas rose has also been unveiled. Titled Hellebore, after the botanical name of the bloom, this new line plays on the same floral motif with a different aesthetic. While hard stones—mother-of-pearl, turquoise and lapis lazuli—are similarly used here for the petals in the Hellebore collection, the pieces are further rimmed by diamond-set white gold that serves as a sparkling outline around each petal.
Behind the hard-stone petals sit open-worked petals that are also set with diamonds—these seem to bring an ethereal feel to hard stones and precious metal, as well as an additional dose of sparkle. Every care is paid to the selection of materials, no matter for the Rose de Nöel or the Hellebore pieces. Colour uniformity is key—for example, because coral comes in shades ranging from rose-orange to pale-pink, it can take years to obtain enough of it in the same hue.
Which of these Christmas rose-inspired creations are speaking to you? For those who love flowers as much as they like diamonds, it will be hard to resist their wintry appeal.
(Related: Editor's Note: Pretty Fine Jewellery From 2020 to Perk You Up)