Van Cleef & Arpels explores lost city of Atlantis
March, 2010 – Van Cleef & Arpels plunges to the depths of the sea to find the lost city of Atlantis.
The Paris-based jeweller recreates the universe of this wondrous isle where Neptune reigned with his queen Cleita and their court of nymphs, mermaids and other mythical sea creatures.
Fantastical beings, wondrous fish and extraordinary fauna arise from a great wave of freshness and imagination, to form a collection of fascinating jewels that reveal new figures and designs, using intriguing precious gems.
The Odyssey to Atlantis
The Odyssey to Atlantis begins with the discovery of the fabulous creatures that live and play in this submerged universe such as Calypso, a pendant whose centrepiece is composed of a bloc of onyx, set with diamond and white gold coral-like branches, Héra, a clip where Burmese ruby spheres and diamonds adorn a 17,92 carat natural pearl, or Maéra, a necklace made of a gradation of sapphires that highlight an incredible black opal, alive with green and blue sparks of colour.
The Amentha necklace features three lavender blue chalcedony stones, delicately set in a subtle combination of blue and pink hues which seem to sparkle like sapphire bubbles around the neck whilst the open structure of the Amphérès necklace (there is no clasp), fans out in an incredibly supple sea spray of diamonds and sapphires, cabochon rubies and white pearls.
More treasures imitate the sparkle of sun on water; the Coquillage clip whose diamonds seem suspended in a precious swirl and ends with a briolette diamond, or the Océan rings, one of which boasts an exceptional 60 carat white cultured pearl set with diamonds in white gold while the other is adorned with a spring green 20, 44 carat tourmaline.
Out of the silent blue depths swims the Oranda clip representing a lion headed fish, whose body is entirely set with diamonds and whose fins are afire with cabochon rubies. He does not disturb the slumber of the Nymphe endormie as she curls up on a magnificent black opal pendant.
The voyage continues as Van Cleef & Arpels unveils Cleita’s jewels. Cleita, the spouse, mother and goddess whose intriguing treasures reveal a woman of timeless style…Treasures such as the Néréide ring and necklace and its magnificent star sapphires or the diamonds of the Cleita suite: a tiara and a necklace in white gold set with diamonds, each adorned with a sumptuous rose cut diamond, and a between–the–fingers ring whose precious ribbon entwines an elegant pear cut diamond.
Plunging to the cerulean depths, the Anthélia suite, all in diamonds and sapphires, is inspired by the tendrils of underwater plants, whilst the Charis necklace and cuff bracelet display the transparent swirls of a jellyfish’s umbrella.
The bold Thétis necklace, made up of a supple ribbon of emeralds and diamonds, brings to mind the scintillating strands of sea-weed dancing in the undercurrents, and the Thétis ring, highlights a splendid, 34,97 carat, mint green tourmaline.
Surging to the surface with scintillating grace, the Haliades bracelet and ring represent two fish, united in diamond sea foam symbolising happiness and the bond of love, while the minaudière shows them playing in emerald studded sea grass.
Lastly, like drops from the crest of a wave, the cuff bracelet, hair clip and ear-clips of the Aphrodite suite bejewel the air with diamonds.
Kingdom of Neptune
Sailing the seas of the oceans of Atlantis, Van Cleef & Arpels discovers the Kingdom of Neptune, a fabulous territory where the sea god appears on his chariot drawn by surf coloured horses.
One of these stallions is represented by a spirited bracelet and pendant, where the horse’s mane transforms into a cascade of blue sapphires, diamonds and natural pearls; or another, whose splendid mane spills across the round cover of a compact mirror, in a wave of sapphires, diamonds and mother of pearl…
Amongst the mythical creatures of this kingdom, the Amphitrite clip represents a delicate seahorse made of pink gold, pink sapphires and diamonds, floating mysteriously in shimmering light.
Floating beside him is Océanide; a clip whose movement transforms this exquisite sea nymph into an underwater flower in an eddy of blue sapphires.
Alongside them is Europe ; a necklace of diamond droplets as light as sea mist.
The Néréïde clip is a nymph of yellow and white gold set with yellow and white diamonds, gazing at a stunning, sunset red, 7 carat spinel clasped in her hands.
The blue of the ocean’s hue transforms as one descends, so to, the fascinating tones of the opal and grey pearls of the Cyllène necklace.
The Scylla necklace – named after the sea nymph who was transformed into a sea dragon by the goddess Circe, is intriguing: open and entirely articulated, it represents a dragon-snake that softly winds around the neck and whose head and tail can be transformed into two mysterious clips…
The Myth of Atlantis
“Atlantide is a splendor.(…). Its riches are infinite. Its seabed abounds with nature’s goodness,” Gilles Lapouge.
Atlantis is a splendor. The size of two continents, this empire dating from the dawn of time reigns beyond the Pillars of Hercules, in the furthest reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.
Its riches are infinite. Its seabed abounds with nature’s goodness. Through its fields and forests roam elephants, squirrels and every creature of earth and sky.
Its countryside is filled with sweet scent. Its cities built of white, red and black rock possess the beauty of barbaric marquetry.
This enormous empire is composed of five concentric rings of land separated by rings of ocean.
Its rulers are descendents of the titan Atlas, brother of Prometheus, whose daughters, guardians of the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides in the Canary Islands, are called the Atlantides.
At the centre of the capital city rises a monument made of ivory and metal.
This is the temple of the god Poseidon, whose conch-shaped chariot is pulled by golden-maned horses.
The shrine is built around a stele upon which is inscribed the law of Atlantis. It is at the foot of this stele that priests slit the throats of sacred bulls.
Upon this imposing labyrinth of sea, sky and earth, engineers constructed vertiginous works of art: bridges and locks, subterranean lakes, canals, gangways, towers, roads, tunnels and harbours.
Atlantis is a Venice of outrageous proportion.
Like something out of a picture by Piranesi or one of his visions.
Enormous fleets glide along the canals, for Atlanteans are seafaring people, merchants and warriors.
Its divinities are water gods: the Nereids, among them the magnificent Amphitrite, seductress of Poseidon; the Oceanids; the Nymphs and their procession of dolphins, seahorses and tritons.