Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra Collection Celebrates its 55th Anniversary!

“To be lucky, you must believe in luck,” as Jacques Arpels, nephew of the founding couple, liked to say. An avid collector, he would pick four-leaf clovers in the back yard of his house in Germigny-l’Évêque, offering them to his employees along with an English poem, “Don’t Quit.”

A value dear to the Maison, luck has been a perennial guiding light for Van Cleef & Arpels, inspiring some of its most iconic creations. Four-leaf clover motifs first appeared in the Maison’s archives as of the 1920s’, embellishing select creations over the years alongside other symbols of good fortune including wooden talismans, charms and benevolent fairies. 

In 1968, the Maison created the first Alhambra long necklace, composed of 20 clover-shaped motifs in creased yellow gold and trimmed with gold beads. This symbolic design achieved immediate success, recognized throughout the world as a token of luck, emblematic of Van Cleef & Arpels.

Van Cleef and Arpels

A veritable signature of the Maison, the Alhambra collection has consistently reinvented itself through the decades to today’s current collection, enriched with a wide range of materials, colors and symbols.

Its characteristic shape is a cloverleaf, but it contains mysteries that would have their origin in the Middle East. The stylized shamrock is actually a Byzantine-inspired quatrefoil, an ornamental motif found in some of the azulejo ceramics of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, or combined with a square to form the refreshing fountains of the palace gardens.

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