Van Cleef & Arpels’ Zodiaque collections comprise two ranges of medallions that honour the 12 indicators in astrology.
With the heavens and its stars a a lot cherished supply of inspiration all through its historical past, Van Cleef & Arpels reimagines the symbolism of the constellations with Zodiaque. Comprising two collections of medallions, every affords a reinterpretation of a Western zodiac signal that includes creations that draw from the maison’s wealthy heritage. The primary line affords medals in pure gold, whereas the opposite combines the dear steel with uncommon decorative stones. A showcase of the experience of Van Cleef & Arpels’ workshops, the items deliver collectively the home’s emblematic strategies, from design to the textured three-dimensional goldwork.
Following the fortunate charms that Van Cleef & Arpels has created since its beginnings, the fi rst astrology-themed collections had been launched within the Nineteen Fifties. Adorned with zodiac indicators, the yellow gold medals in numerous sizes proved to be a hit. Gracing bracelets, pendants, clips and cuffl inks over time, the zodiac-inspired charms have been included in the home’s repertoire till the 2000s.
The maison has even revisited this theme in its watchmaking. Unveiled in 2018, the Zodiaque Lumineux watch assortment featured constellations and symbols on its dials, which lit up by advantage of an modern mechanical system.
In the present day, the maison celebrates this wealthy heritage by recreating its first-ever zodiac medals in a brand new 21mm dimension. Constituted of intricately polished yellow gold, the 12 medallions characteristic refined aid work on each side. The entrance depicts the zodiac signal, whereas the again options its corresponding astrological image and dates.
From the Seventies, these items had been showcased in additional imposing dimensions and had been adorned with wooden, diamonds, mother-of-pearl and decorative stones. Figurative and summary motifs took delight of place on an array of pendants, key rings, bracelets and clips, resulting in ensembles for each women and men that remained common by to the Nineteen Nineties.
Paying homage to the colored pendants designed by Van Cleef & Arpels within the ’70s are 12 lengthy necklaces with medallions flaunting a decorative stone backdrop. Every creation is adorned with rose gold motifs paying homage to Artwork Deco compositions on each side.
Depicted in aid, the entrance options figures and the weather historically related to every zodiac signal within the foreground, whereas the weather of fireside, air, water or earth are represented in a stylised type within the background. Rose gold takes on totally different textures right here to supply a way of motion to the items. Utilizing the identical method, the reverse aspect of every medal depicts the image of the zodiac signal, its identify and the dates to which they correspond within the calendar.
A choice of decorative stones, some hardly ever seen in jewelry, add a final touch to the backgrounds of those aid tableaux. Van Cleef & Arpels’ knowledgeable gemologists labored carefully with lapidaries to create evocative ensembles of decorative stones. Reduce into massive discs, each stone has been fastidiously chosen for its harmonious look on each side, color nuance, high quality of its floor, opacity and translucidity.
Collectively, they endow the creations with graphic results, speckles and shimmering overtones. Stones chosen to depict water indicators evoke the world’s seas, like Most cancers’s blue quartz that echoes the ocean’s depths, the salty foam in Pisces’ sodalite and clear waters over unique shores by Scorpio’s turquoise. The nuances of the earth indicators echo a luxuriant nature: malachite with undulating motifs for Virgo, chrome aventurine for Taurus and vivid amazonite for Capricorn.
Air indicators are represented by the poetic nature of evening skies – with the intensely flecked blue of lapis lazuli on the Gemini medal, Aquarius’ darkish blue aventurine, and the overtones of shimmering gold obsidian for Libra. Extremely graphic supplies chosen to adorn the hearth indicators evoke flames and lava. These embrace the iron eye chosen for Aries, the magma-like crimson pietersite of Sagittarius and the crimson jasper evoking glowing embers that brings Leo to life.
Like a miniature tableau the place type, materials and color mingle, every decorative stone piece is labored on each side. The ornamental results on the gold are testimony to the eye that the maison devotes to each element. To evaluate their aid impact and make sure the concord of the composition, the three-dimensional volumes and textures of the assorted gold motifs are fi rst meticulously crafted in inexperienced wax earlier than being transcribed in rose gold. Subsequent, the pendants are framed by a contour of rose gold, masterfully hammered to replicate mild with depth. Lastly, the gold is polished, sanded or brushed to bestow the piece its placing radiance.
(Photographs: Laura Bonnefous)
This story first appeared within the February 2022 challenge of Status Singapore.