Create your own luck with Van Cleef & Arpels’ new Alhambra creations

Create your own luck with Van Cleef & Arpels’ new Alhambra creations


Text: Angelyn Kwek

Discover the new Alhambra jewellery additions on its 50th anniversary and see the savoir-faire behind crafting Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic lucky charms, as illustrated by artist Julie Joseph

If there's a surefire way to bump your karma up from 'Average' to 'Outstanding', it's to physically cover yourself in luck by virtue of the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection. A true lucky symbol, this is a jewellery edit that has been an icon of good fortune since its launch 50 years ago, and its classic design has since endured the test of time. Inspired by the four-leaf clover, the maison now celebrates this brand signature on its golden jubilee by introducing new creations that play on the timelessness of the very first Alhambra piece.

Fluid and elegant, the 2018 additions pay homage to the original aesthetic that saw the clover motif adorned with a delicate beaded border. Distinctly vintage in its style, long necklaces, earrings and bracelets spotlight the excellence savoir-faire of Van Cleef & Arpels, with each piece arranged such that an alternating clover embellished with a central bead adds an extra visual element. Colour options include gray mother-of-pearl framed in pink gold and onyx matched with white gold - the former a shimmering blend of silver-gray shades and the latter a highly sought-after hard stone of pure black.

But wait, there's a curveball to the new Alhambra creations. What's the twist? Four exceptional models (in very, very few pieces) featuring a rare palette of lapis lazuli and rock crystal. These precious stones not only enrich the array of materials that have graced the collection over the years, they are captivating in their own right, with one being an intense blue and the other an almost-translucent milky gem, respectively. Crafted collectively by expert lapidaries, jewellers, stone-setters and polishers, every permutation is a juxtaposition of something new and something old: A fresh glimmer, from the choice of precious stones to its refined metalwork, catches the attention first but look closer and you'll see the new creations referencing shapes and designs of many a vintage Alhambra. 

Certainly a colourful heritage meant to be exalted, Van Cleef & Arpels has commissioned artist Julie Joseph to illustrate the know-how that goes into the collection, charmingly packaged into short animations titled 'The Crafting of Luck'. So how exactly is luck made? And how do you harness some of this fortuity? Below, the 9-step methodology to give you a better appreciation for the Alhambra, before you make a dash for the nearest Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in a bid to up your luck:

1. Designing the piece
Where it all starts...

2. Selecting the stones
The maison has seeks out only the most beautiful materials from Mother Nature. Each stone has been chosen according to the very highest standards of quality.

3. Cutting the stones
The stones are meticulously cut before being polished to reveal all their nuances and sheen.

4. Pairing the stones
Whether it's pink, white or yellow gold matched with a myriad of colourful gemstones, there's an Alhambra to suit every taste.

5. Creating the motif
Gold is melted to give form to the beaded setting, which is afterwards hand-finished by the jewelers.

6. Setting the stones
The motif is then united with its gold case, whose prongs are delicately set in place.

7. Crafting the chain
Delicate yet strong, each link is a smooth contour adding to the overall beauty of the jewellery.

8. Polishing the piece
A final polish brings out all the luminous beauty of the ensemble.

9. Controlling the quality
Flawless is thy middle name. Voila! This is pure luck, captured in fine jewellery form.

The Alhambra collection is available at Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques.