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Ancient Egyptians venerated turquoise, working the vivid gem into jewelry and scarabs. (King Tut’s burial mask was even decorated with the stone.) These days, turquoise is enjoying a renaissance among jewelry designers, and Van Cleef & Arpels is leading the charge. With its 12-piece Perles d’été high jewelry collection, the French brand showcases the motif in a fresh—and ultraluxe—fashion. Part of the house’s legendary Perlée line, it highlights Arizona-sourced turquoise set against gold beads, evoking sunny days under an azure sky.
The range, which includes necklaces, bracelets, and rings, features uniquely high-quality turquoise, made possible by a cache of stones obtained by Van Cleef several years ago. “Turquoise is a gem that is more difficult to find in the maison’s taste and criteria of selection,” says Nicolas Bos, the house’s CEO and president. “We had the incredible opportunity to come across these exceptional ensembles of stones, and we wanted to highlight them in a collection that would bring out all their beauty.” Coral, both white and red, beautifully offsets the gems in the collection, while Van Cleef’s signature gold gadroon detailing, which has been a fixture of its designs since the 1940s, makes the pieces’ provenance clear.
The brand’s trained gemologists selected stones with a uniform tone and no inclusions. The Brume de turquoise necklace features 19 gold-set turquoise stones and a detachable medallion pendant dotted with diamonds and sapphires, which took artisans over 800 hours to create. The Lueur d’été necklace was created from 39 sizable spheres, measuring 10 to 23 millimeters, interspersed with lapis lazuli and coral beads. It can be converted to be worn as two shorter necklaces—one that’s uniformly turquoise, the other featuring the lapis and coral more prominently. The Delta de turquoise bracelet features a singular showstopping stone anchored by intertwining strands of diamonds and gold beads.
Van Cleef & Arpels has prized ornamental stones since its 1906 founding. Interest increased during the Art Deco era and hit a new high in the ’60s and ’70s, as a rise in cocktail jewelry ushered in an era of boldly colored, oversize pieces. “During this period, the colorful aesthetic of ornamental stones instilled a sense of joy and playfulness [in] the creations,” Bos explains. “They were often combined to give rise to bright harmonies and offer a different dimension to high jewelry, blurring the boundaries between daytime and evening elegance.” The house looked to channel the same sense of energy and lightness found in its archives into Perles d’été. What they created is an offering that glimmers like the desert sky.
Discover the Perles d’été collection here.
Adrienne Gaffney is an associate editor at ELLE who previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.