"Discover what pleases you and makes you dream," gushed Nicolas Bos, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels. In town to unveil "The Art & Science of Gems" exhibition co-curated with the ArtScience Museum with the participation of the French National Museum of Natural History, he was joined by Carol star and loyal friend of the brand, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett. Whisking journalists off to discover eight sections within one floor of the museum, a trail takes you through the relationship between the science of mineralogy and the art of jewellery making. Follow culture editor Adibah Isa's journey through the exhibition for highlights which you should try to spot on your upcoming visit.

 

The tour begins: A graphic animation shows the iconic flying bird, visualising the history of how minerals formed four billion years ago and how carbon turns into a diamond. 

 

Amid zip necklaces and a gold plane from the Couture gallery sits this 800kg of Quartz, named after Napoleon Bonaparte. It's also the largest found in the Alps.


In the Abstractions gallery, this Art Deco bracelet stands out with its different cut of diamonds and different return of light.

 

In the Influences gallery, we spotted this 1924 Egyptian-inspired number with a fruit cocktail of gems and jewels: Platinum, sapphires, rubies, emerald, onyx and diamonds.

 

The '20s saw a craze in accessories from the Far East: A dragon vanity case from 1923 bears gold, enamel, jade and diamonds.

 

Curves and tassels respond to the femininity of the collection with a hint of the natural elements designed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, who also designed the brand's recent store opening in Ginza.

 

In the Precious Objects section, we uncover 1930s treasures such as this minaudière, which was born from watching a woman put her lipstick in a Lucky Strike cigarette case. The detachable clasp can also be used as a pin, while a watch is hidden in the lipstick — back in the day, women were not encouraged to keep time.

 

In the Nature gallery, exhibition designer Patrick Jouin uses cascading tassels to give the idea of mystery and nature, mimicking the rainforest.

 

More gems are uncovered — this time, the gold and rubies of a necklace.

 

A close-up of Aquamarine and black tourmaline from Mount Erongo, Namibia.

 

A 1945 fax of a drawing featuring a Passe Partout jewel designed as a necklace with a detachable flower clip.

 

High on hope: Small discs hover over the Ballerina collections of the 1940s, which reminded Americans of better days and inspired positivity in dance.

 

From Provence, a polished section in a fossilised birchwood that dates back to 30 million years ago is preserved.

 

From the gallery of iconic pieces and their wearers, we spotted Elizabeth Taylor's bow pin.

 

Just some of the 450 creations and 250 minerals on display.

 

A four-course meal by Bruno Menard at The Clifford Pier, a fitting end to a journey of discovery with Van Cleef & Arpels, the French National Museum of Natural History and guest Cate Blanchett.

 

The Art & Science of Gems is showing till 14 August at the ArtScience Museum.