Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bauble Alert: Van Cleef Show Closes July 4th

Egyptian Odalisque evening bag, 1927.

Even if magnificent jewelry isn’t your thing, there’s much jaw-dropping beauty and exquisite craftsmanship to behold at the Cooper Hewitt’s Van Cleef & Arpels show. “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” is on view through July 4th. This is no ordinary bling. The legendary Place Vendôme jeweler, founded in 1906, was responsible for such design innovations as the zip necklace, and the “Mystery Setting,” which made it possible for tessellated gemstones to coat undulating surfaces, free of visible metal prongs. Also on display are original sketches, order books, and some remarkable cigarette cases, minaudières, and handbags.

The exhibition design by the Jouin Manku studio features irregularly blown-glass display orbs. They serve as organic vitrines for a cabinet of dazzling curiosities of the rich and famous, and are yet another reason to head over to the Carnegie mansion for the museum’s last show before the building’s two-year renovation begins.

Wishing you a most sparkly 4th!

Peacock box, c. 1950

Radiator lapel pin/bag clasp, 1930. The “vents” open and close

Mystery-set Peony brooch, 1937.

Lamartine earrings and bracelet of coral, amethyst and diamonds, 1970. This set, which belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, was a gift from Richard Burton, and will be auctioned by Christies this winter.

One of two Manchette Cuff Bracelets, which combined together, become a necklace. Late 1920s.

Micro-mosaic necklace.

Indu Necklace, 1950. Sketch, and the real thing.
Owned by Maharani of Baroda.

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