Holiday Gift Guide: Van Cleef & Arpels’ Vintage Alhambra collection makes our hearts flutter
Token of Luck
Christmas, birthdays and special occasions always warrant a smidgeon of extra positive thoughts towards other people. We generally package our greetings with wishes for "happiness, luck and health" - kind utterances that cost nothing and are intangible, but are welcomed by old and young, rich and poor, healthy and sick.
Luck might be happenstance, but talismans that serve as tokens of fortune are not. Just ask Jacques Arpels, the Van Cleef & Arpels scion who believed so strongly in the power of the four-leaf clover that he dedicated an entire collection to the Irish shamrock, called the Alhambra. He believed that "to be truly lucky, you have to believe in luck." And lucky he was, as the Alhambra would go on to become one of the most iconic bejewelled collection within the Van Cleef & Arpels family, and it was cause for greater celebration this year as it feted its 50th anniversary.
Why the four-leaf clover is considered a token of luck has ambiguous roots, like many legends. But it is believed to stem from the fact that it only one in a 10,000 shamrocks produce four-leaf clovers - basically, if you are lucky enough to find one, then it is reasonable to expect that luck will follow you where you go.
By that token, if you're lucky to be one of the few to get your hands on the limited edition Vintage Alhambra pendant this Christmas, will 2019 be your luckiest year then? The quatrefoile takes the form of gold Australian mother-of-pearl, which is studded with a single diamond, and framed by yellow gold. Making it even more special is the fact that the pendant can be personalised with an engraving, so you can inscribe your thoughtful wishes to the one you love.
Should the recipient prefer a pop of colour, the Vintage Alhambra with blue agate is a splendid option as well. Imbued with good wishes, the Alhambra with blue agate was first launched in 1989, and makes a welcome comeback this year in yellow gold.
Illustrating Van Cleef & Arpels' savoir faire, the Alhambra with gold guilloche will surely find favour with the magpies in your life. Previously utilised on watches and objets d'art, it's the first time that the French maison has appropriated the art of guilloche on a jewel, and the results are remarkable: the yellow gold shines with peerless lustre, thanks to the three-dimensional effect achieved by the guillochage technique.