Van Cleef & Arpels appeals to all astrology enthusiasts with its Zodiaque collections.
Enthralled by the spectacle of the celestial bodies and the heavenly vault, Van Cleef & Arpels honors them with collections that recreate the symbolism of the constellations. This year, the Maison has imagined two jewelry sets, offering new interpretations of the signs of the Western Zodiac and celebrating emblematic creations from its heritage. Whether in pure gold, like the medals that appeared in Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections during the 1950s, or combining it with the nuances of rare ornamental stones, the creations blend two of the Maison’s cherished sources of inspiration: nature and astronomy.
In a veritable homage to the colored pendants designed by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1970s, twelve long necklaces reinterpret the signs of the Zodiac. Each creation is adorned with motifs on both sides, like a genuine three-dimensional tableau. A first scene focuses on figures and the elements traditionally associated with each Zodiac sign: the animals and characters are depicted in relief in the foreground, while the elements evoking fire, air, water or earth are represented in stylized form in the background, in a graphic aspect reminiscent of Art Deco compositions. Rose gold takes on different textures, providing a sense of movement to the ensemble. In testimony to the special care invested by the Maison in every detail of its pieces, the backs of the long necklaces have been worked using the same techniques as their fronts: they feature depictions in gold of the symbols of the signs, their names and the dates to which they correspond in the calendar.
A selection of ornamental stones adds the finishing touch to the backgrounds of these relief tableaux, suffusing each sign with unique character. The rich diversity of stones creates a unique composition of minerals, rarely seen in jewelry. Chosen individually for their aesthetic characteristics, they come together to form harmoniously colored ensembles for each element. The ones chosen to depict water signs thus evoke the world’s seas, with Cancer’s blue quartz embodying the depth of the oceans, Pisces’s sodalite the salty foam, and Scorpio’s turquoise the clear waters of exotic shores.
The dazzling nuances of the earth signs echo the luxuriant nature that has inspired Van Cleef & Arpels ever since its foundation: malachite with undulating motifs for Virgo, randomly-chromed aventurine for Taurus and vivid amazonite for Capricorn.
Meanwhile, the air signs depict the poetry of night skies, with the intensely- flecked blue of lapis lazuli on the Gemini medal echoing the blue aventurine of Aquarius and the overtones of shimmering gold obsidian for Libra.
The highly graphic materials chosen to adorn the fire signs alternately evoke flames and lava, like the iron eye selected for Aries; volcanic magma, like the red pietersite of Sagittarius; or glowing embers, like the red jasper whose speckled motifs bring Leo to life.
A second set of twelve pieces offers a contemporary vision of the yellow gold medals which appeared in Van Cleef & Arpels’ collections from the 1950s onwards. Among the Maison’s historic creations, they were available in different sizes and forms over the years. Zodiac-inspired charms, bracelets, pendants, clips and cuff links punctuated Van Cleef & Arpels’ history up until the 2000s.
Today, the Maison is celebrating this rich heritage by recreating its first ever Zodiac medals. Van Cleef & Arpels has brought them back to life in new dimensions – 21 mm in diameter – that emphasize their symbolism and intimate quality. Crafted from intricately polished yellow gold, the pieces are adorned on both sides with depictions and dates of the signs of the Zodiac, in a subtle interplay of relief. These medals thus celebrate a personal jewelry, deeply imbued with the history of its wearer.