Van Cleef & Arpels debuted their latest 'Romeo & Juliet' High Jewellery collection most recently at Paris Haute Couture Week. Inspired by the Shakespearean tragedy of the same title, this romantic collection includes over 100 unique pieces- all telling the tale of the young couple, the context and setting for their love story, from the balcony scene to the architecture of Verona.
Red and blue gem hues make up the main colour scheme of the collection, representing the coat of arms of the Capulet and Montague families respectively. Mauve, a blend of the two shades represent the passionate love of the couple, intertwined for eternity, along with the hope that the green gems represent.
“For us, the choice of Romeo and Juliet was a natural one for several reasons. Literature is one of the Maison’s major sources of inspiration, and in 2003 we had already paid tribute to the world of Shakespeare with the A Midsummer Night’s Dream collection.” - Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Probably one of the most iconic pieces of the collection, the Romeo and Juliet clip comes to life thanks to stellar 3D-craftsmanship. Both characters are decked out in Italian renaissance costumes, with Romeo in a tunic set with sapphires and lapis lazuli, stockings in white gold and black lacquer and a cape in mirror-polished gold; and Juliet in a dress embellished with gadroons, polished gold set with orange sapphires, garnets, rubies and diamonds. Romeo is seen offering his love a bouquet of mauve sapphire flowers, a symbol of their coming marriage and the union of their two families.
The Reticella necklace combines two of the Maison’s beloved themes: of couture and white jewellery tradition. Echoing the Renaissance, it combines flexibility and support to hug the contours of the neck. At the centre of the piece, a jewellery motif of diamonds recalls the brooches pinned to the bodices of Renaissance women of the court.
“O speak again, bright angel, for thou art As glorious to this night, being o’er my head, As is a winged messenger of heaven” - Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, Act II, scene 2.
An ode to the fountains of Verona, where the tale of Romeo and Juliet is set against, this torque bracelet bears two large pear-shaped aquamarines, accentuated by a luminous mosaic of shades incorporating sapphires, diamonds, emeralds and black spinels, reminiscent of shimmering waters. Finally, two diamond-set palmettes lay visible beneath the aquamarines, symbolizing the lovers’ secret vows.
The Belfiore long necklace presents a variety of oval and cushion-cut blue, violet and pink coloured sapphires, expressing the union of the Capulet and Montague families in a harmony of stones. This style– a signature of Van Cleef & Arpels – is also representative of Renaissance jewellery, in which cabochons of hard stones stand alongside faceted precious stones in a subtle contrast of materials. This piece can also be transformed into a short necklace and a bracelet.
Check out more pieces of the Romeo and Juliet collection in the gallery below: