The Ultimate Guide to Van Cleef & Arpels

By Luxe Du Jour
February 2, 2024

A Romantic History

Van Cleef & Arpels was a historical quest for timeless beauty. When you look up on the initials VCA immediately you’re at an echelon of innovation that honestly began with a quite simple love story.

The Aprels family was a dealer of precious stones during the 1800s and the meeting of their daughter Estelle and Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a diamond broker, was truly destiny. Married in 1985, the couple was soon joined by her brothers, Charles, Julien, and Louis, to start their famed boutique at 22 Place Vendome Paris, which to this day houses beautiful collections and a world of grandeur that has expanded to encompass both 20 and 24 Place Vendome.

What began as artistry led to a clientele boasting of royalty and celebrities as they coveted the romantic pieces born of the love between Alfred and Estelle. “Recognition of Van Cleef & Arpels’ exceptional craftsmanship and design led to the highest accolades at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925 and the Exposition Coloniale Internationale at the Bois de Vincennes in Paris in 1931, signifying the blossoming of the Maison’s international repute,” the Maison shares.

The family remains under the control of Julien Arpels’ sons Claude, Jacques and Pierre, each talented with design and management skills that uphold what began eons ago. The Maison continues the “spirit of beauty from inspirations that symbolize understated elegance, refinement and poetry. From the infinite beauty of the natural world to the sublime grace of ballerinas, the artistry of haute couture, and the opulence of the Orient.”

The enchanting romance of Van Cleef & Arpels continues to delight us all with their pieces that seem to transcend time in a continued reign over the world of Haute Joaillerie.

Continue reading as Luxe Du Jour takes you through the most popular collections, an ultimate guide to precious stones used by Van Cleef & Arpels, and of course, what holds value best!

The Most Popular Collections

The Alhambra Collection

A stunning clover leaf-inspired necklace debuted 1968, and with its understated elegance attracted Princess Grace of Monaco instantly. She was an avid fan of the design which was a homage to Granada’s Alhambra Castle (Spain). The doorway architecture with a quatrefoil design has filled history books for decades. The Alhambra continues to symbolize love, fortune, health and luck. A celebrity favorite, it’s a perfect way to start dabbling into the Maison’s beauty as this is also the most iconic and favored collection. The Alhambra collection consists of four main sizes, see our guide below to help you decide which is best for you:

Sweet Alhambra – 0.37 inches / 9.5 mm

Vintage Alhambra – 0.59 inches / 15 mm

Pure Alhambra – 0.63 inches / 16 mm

Magic Alhambra – 1.02 inches / 26 mm

The Perleé Collection

A second favorite is the Perleé collection which debuted in 2008. The popularity of Perleé stems from the craftsmanship of how each single golden bead is handworked by artisans to create a perfect rounded shape after they use a lost-waxing cast technique. Smooth and highly comfortable, these pieces are easy to wear and recognizable as Van Cleef & Arpels. The Perleé collection consists of necklaces, bracelets, and rings to watches and earrings with three general sizes ranging from small to large.

The Frivole Collection

The Frivole collection is beautifully graphic with its ties to nature—frivolous and cheerful. Heart-shaped petals, polished for a sheen or diamonds set within gold to allow the light to reflect in different ways, Frivole is a combination of precious jewels and what the Maison calls a “tribute to the positive vision of life.” Each gold piece is thread polished by hand so the folds of the petal shine equally from any way you look at it. It may not be as popular as the Alhambra collection, but it’s still a favorite go-to for collectors.

A Guide to Van Cleef & Arpels Precious Stones

Diamonds – always a favorite as Van Cleef & Arpels is quick to choose the highest clarity and color to maintain value. Artisans cut these beauties into spectacular shapes that only the Maison is known for including its “mystery set” making them appear as if the diamonds are afloat. A technique that is quite difficult to achieve and different from other jewelry Houses.

Emeralds, Sapphires and Rubies – there is truly an unparalleled beauty that comes with these precious stones. Their vibrancy in color, rarity and durability make them a favored option. The hardness of these three make them quite valued in terms of their ability to be resistant to scratching. These gemstones, known as the “Big Three” in the world of colored gemstones, have captivated people for centuries and continue to be highly sought after.

Mother of Pearl – The sheen that comes from the pearl produced by oysters and abalone always have a pattern unique to each single pearl. Though it is quite sensitive to getting wet, so avoid moisture.

Onyx – Onyx is a type of chalcedony quartz that is often used in jewelry due to its rich black color. Formed from the cavities of volcanic rocks, It’s known for a glossy, vitreous lustre once polished. The symbolism behind this quartz is associated with strength and protection making it a favorite of Van Cleef & Arpels clientele.

Malachite – A vibrant, green mineral that is distinctive and eye-catching in its appearance makes it a perfect option for Alhambra. One of the most recognizable aspects of malachite is its banded pattern. The stone often exhibits concentric bands or rings of varying shades of green. These bands result from the deposition of new layers of malachite over time.

Carnelian – A warm, reddish to orange-brown color, this variety of chalcedony is valued for both its attractiveness and historical significance. It has been associated with protection and courage making it a popular choice in various adornments and amulets throughout thousands of years for jewelry making by many civilizations.

Turquoise – Prized for a vivid color and softness, it’s found in various parts of the world, including the United States (Southwest), Iran, Afghanistan, China, and Mexico. Each source can produce turquoise with unique characteristics and colors.

Tigers Eye – Strength and prosperity back this stunning stone that can change its luster when viewed from different angles. Tiger’s Eye is renowned for its chatoyant or “cat’s eye” effect. This effect is caused by the reflection of light off parallel fibrous inclusions within the stone. When the stone is moved, the appearance of a narrow, luminous band moves across the surface, resembling the eye of a cat.

Sevres Porcelain – Sèvres porcelain refers to a renowned type of fine French porcelain produced by the Royal Porcelain Factory of Sèvres. The factory was originally established in Vincennes in 1738 before being moved to Sèvres, near Paris, in 1756. Sèvres porcelain is celebrated for its exquisite craftsmanship, artistic designs, and association with the French royal court.

Rhodonite – This manganese silicate mineral known for its distinctive pink to rose-red color, often marked with black manganese oxide veins or inclusions. Rhodonite is sometimes associated with love, compassion, and emotional healing. It is believed by some to help balance emotions and promote a sense of well-being.

Lapis Lazuli – The most notable feature of lapis lazuli is its rich, deep blue color. The finest specimens exhibit an intense, uniform blue hue with minimal impurities. It may also contain gold or white speckles of pyrite or calcite. Historically, the most prized lapis lazuli has come from deposits in Afghanistan, notably the Sar-e-Sang mines.

Chalcedony – A certain microcrystalline quartz that exhibits a waxy to granular fibrous texture. Polishing this quartz creates a smooth, glossy appearance loved by artisans.

Letterwood – There are times Van Cleef & Arpels went beyond gemstones and used precious wood within their designs. Between African Letterwood (Cordia africana) or Piratinera guianensis (Letterwood Tree). These highly valued trees are known for a unique appearance, featuring a distinctive pattern that resembles snakeskin

Pictured Left to Right: Diamond, Mother of Pearl, Onyx, Malachite, Carnelian, Turquoise, Tiger’s Eye, Sevres Porcelain, Rhodonite, Lapis Lazuli, Chalcedony, Letterwood, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby

Chart guide outlining the least durable VCA pieces to the most durable

Mother of Pearl being the most delicate stone and least durable whereas Carnelian being the most durable right under Diamond. The Hammered gold made it on this chart and is considered a very durable piece despite it not being a stone.


Avoid Chemicals and Harsh Substances:

Keep your Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry away from harsh chemicals, such as perfumes, cosmetics, hairspray, and cleaning products. These substances can damage the delicate stones and affect the metal settings. It’s advisable to put on your jewelry after applying makeup and styling products. Ensure any lotions or sunscreen or creams to set in your skin before putting on your Van Cleef jewelry as it could also make stones such as malachite dull.

Don’t stack the delicate stones:

If you want to protect your more fragile stones such as mother of pearl or malachite it’s recommended that you don’t stack these with jewelry that could rub against it or constantly bang against each other. A diamond piece of jewelry could easily scratch or break delicate stones such as Mother of Pearl and Malachite.

Avoid showering with the stones:

It’s never recommended to leave your Van cleef jewelry on while swimming or showering because the exposure to water long term could damage the stones or cause it to shrink which could lead to it falling off it’s setting.

Store them properly:

The best way to store your Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is to lay it flat in a soft jewelry box tray away from other pieces so they don’t tangle or scratch one another. Ensure you are storing it away from direct sunlight and in a cool and dry place.


Selecting your first piece of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is an exciting and meaningful experience. Here are some tips as a designer luxury advisor to help you make a thoughtful and informed decision:

Define Your Style and Purpose:

Consider your personal style and the occasions for which you intend to wear the jewelry. Van Cleef & Arpels offers a wide range of designs, from classic and timeless to more contemporary and avant-garde. Whether you’re looking for an everyday piece or a statement item for special events, understanding your style and purpose will guide your selection.

Research and Familiarize Yourself:

Take the time to research Van Cleef & Arpels collections, signature motifs, and the significance behind their designs. Familiarize yourself with the various gemstones and materials used in their jewelry. This knowledge will empower you to make an informed decision and appreciate the craftsmanship behind each piece.

Consider Iconic Collections:

Van Cleef & Arpels is known for its iconic collections, such as the Alhambra, Frivole, and Perlée. Explore these collections and discover the stories and inspirations behind each design. These timeless and recognizable pieces often hold a special place in the brand’s history and may resonate with your personal taste.

Budget and Investment:

Establish a budget for your first Van Cleef & Arpels purchase. While the brand is associated with luxury, there are pieces available at various price points. Determine the level of investment you are comfortable with and explore options within that range. Keep in mind that Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is often considered an investment, and the value may appreciate over time.

Visit a Van Cleef & Arpels Boutique:

To truly appreciate the craftsmanship and details of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, consider visiting one of their boutiques. The in-store experience allows you to try on pieces, feel the materials, and receive personalized assistance from knowledgeable staff. You can also gain insights into the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship during your visit.

Trust Your Instincts:

Ultimately, choose a piece that resonates with you on a personal level. Whether it’s a specific design, a meaningful motif, or the allure of a particular gemstone, trust your instincts and select a piece that brings you joy and reflects your style.

Consider Versatility:

Opt for a piece that can be versatile and easily integrated into your existing jewelry collection. A timeless and versatile design ensures that you can wear your Van Cleef & Arpels piece for various occasions, making it a more valuable and practical investment.

What Retains Value and Sells Best

The most popular styles that has the highest demand are the following pieces:

  1. The Mother of Pearl Vintage Alhambra in stud earrings, 5 motif bracelet, 10 motif necklace, 10 motif necklace, 2 motif earrings, 3 motif earrings. Anything in the Mother of Pearl often sells out within days of being listed with Luxe Du Jour.
  2. The Hammered gold Vintage Alhambra or Sweet Alhambra in stud earrings, 5 motif bracelets, 2 motif earrings. The reason the hammered gold is popular is because of its versatility to wear it everyday without worrying about the typical stones. Normally the stones such as MOP should not be worn in the shower but with hammered gold you can without worry.
  3. The Onyx Vintage, Sweet or Magic alhambra in anything is another must have for collectors and oftentimes a great starter piece next to the mother of pearl. Without a doubt you will have no problem selling any Van Cleef and Arpels onyx pieces close to retail in the future if you choose to sell it.
  4. The malachite Vintage or Magic Alhambra in anything is often a hot seller with Luxe Du Jour. The emerald green offers such sophistication and elegance that makes it easy to wear with any outfit despite it being a bold color.
  5. The Carnelian Vintage Alhambra in earring studs, 5 motif bracelet, 10 motif necklace and 20 motif necklace. Due to it’s durability the carnelian is highly coveted and has great resale value being a bold luxurious red color that will add a pop of color to any outfit.

There are a lot of other amazing pieces from Van Cleef that hold their value over time which is why a lot of our clients buy and invest in these timeless pieces. If you are looking for the best place to sell your authentic pre-owned or new Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry then we recommend selling with us. Luxe Du Jour specializes in luxury resale and is a trusted consignment to sell your high-end designer jewelry such as Van Cleef & Arpels. Most of the time you don’t even need to take the instant buyout offer even though you will most likely be offered both a consignment option and an instant cash buyout option because all Van Cleef & Arpels tend to sell out fast through Luxe Du Jour.

At Luxe Du Jour, we strive to learn more about the potential of every Luxury House and their collections so we can provide you with the best possible knowledge to help guide your purchases and grow your collection. Without a doubt Van Cleef & Arpels remains a solid contender in the world of jewelry and High jewelry. It also does well in retaining value on certain collections mainly the Alhambra which is also the most popular amongst shoppers. That specific collection with its unmistakable appeal and recognizability make it our go-to when it comes to resale value.

Choosing to purchase Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, particularly pre-owned from a luxury consignment, offers a multifaceted appeal. Embracing the brand’s timeless elegance and unparalleled craftsmanship, buyers gain access to rare and discontinued pieces, each with its own historical significance and iconic design. The cost savings associated with pre-owned acquisitions make high-quality Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry more accessible, providing an attractive option for those seeking both luxury and budget-consciousness. Furthermore, the decision to buy pre-owned aligns with sustainable practices, contributing to the circular economy and reducing the environmental footprint associated with new production. Reputable consignment platforms prioritize authentication and quality assurance, assuring buyers of the authenticity and condition of their purchase. In essence, opting for pre-owned Van Cleef & Arpels from luxury consignment combines the allure of luxury with considerations for craftsmanship, history, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and the assurance of a quality investment.

The question is always why buy resale over retail? Yes, there is sustainability and environmental ethics at the forefront, but also you will find that Van Cleef & Arpels much like other luxury brands have a VIP wait list and purchase history needed to get those coveted items like the Alhambra onyx pieces, especially the drop earrings. Each season that passes it becomes more difficult to obtain those styles and even though you can purchase them online, they’re sometimes not listed or go out of stock almost instantly. Keep an eye on’s new arrivals as we are always getting Van Cleef & Arpels in!

While other collections still hold some value, if you’re looking at investing in your first piece from Van Cleef & Arpels, we highly recommend looking at the Alhambra collection to start. You’ve been warned though, once you buy one it’s hard to stop!

Celebrities in Van Cleef & Arpels:

Van Cleef & Arpels is a prestigious jewelry brand that has garnered the attention of many celebrities. While fashion choices can vary, several notable personalities have been spotted wearing Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry on various occasions. Here are some celebrities known for wearing Van Cleef & Arpels:

Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly):

Grace Kelly, the iconic Hollywood actress turned Princess of Monaco, was known to have a strong affinity for Van Cleef & Arpels. She was often seen wearing their pieces, including the iconic Alhambra necklace.

Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson):

The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, was a prominent figure in the early-to-mid 20th century known for her impeccable style. She owned several Van Cleef & Arpels pieces, showcasing her appreciation for the brand.

Elizabeth Taylor:

The legendary actress and style icon Elizabeth Taylor was a collector of exquisite jewelry. She owned various pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels, including a stunning ruby and diamond suite gifted to her by her husband Richard Burton.

Sophia Loren:

Renowned actress Sophia Loren has been photographed wearing Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry at various events. Her classic and elegant style aligns well with the brand’s aesthetic.

Charlize Theron:

Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron has been spotted wearing Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry on the red carpet. Her choice of the brand’s pieces often complements her sophisticated and glamorous style.

Natalie Portman:

Actress Natalie Portman has chosen Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry for several high-profile events. She has been photographed wearing items from the brand that complement her modern and refined look.

Julia Roberts:

Julia Roberts, known for her timeless beauty and style, has been seen wearing Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry on occasions such as red carpet events and award ceremonies.

Cate Blanchett:

Acclaimed actress Cate Blanchett has been known to wear Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, adding a touch of sophistication to her red carpet ensembles.

Connect with our team of experts to help you find your next Van Cleef & Arpels piece or if you find yours are collecting dust reach out to us about our consignment options and let us help you find them a new home!



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