Van Cleef & Arpels Unveils Les Jardins Secrets, A New Boutique With An Exhibition Space

Van Cleef & Arpels Les Jardins SecretsPHOTO COURTESY OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Located at Raffles Hotel Singapore, Les Jardins Secrets by Van Cleef & Arpels is a new boutique-and-mini museum. Its French name, which translates as The Secret Gardens, is a tribute to the Garden City, one of Singapore’s monikers. But more literally, Les Jardins Secrets derives its name from the concept of a secret door that connects the petite boutique to a ‘secret garden’, or in this instance, the exhibition space.

The purpose of Les Jardins Secrets is to introduce visitors to the Parisian high jewellery maison’s 118 years of savoir-faire. In the boutique, statement pieces from the Alhambra to Perlée collections are the immediate VCA icons that greet and instantly captivate visitors. Despite its semi-temporary status, Les Jardins Secrets already has major plans in the pipeline.

Van Cleef & Arpels Les Jardins SecretsPHOTO COURTESY OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

In its inaugural exhibition, the museum space presents Precious Nature, a showcase of the maison’s nature-themed creations. There are a total 15 high jewellery pieces from the patrimonial collection on show, as well as several archival documents. These range from patent certificates of Van Cleef & Arpels’s Mystery Set Technique to plaster moulds and workshop cards.

Also on display is a stellar nine-piece collection, on loan to the exhibition by a private collector/client. These are predominantly red ruby stunners, created using said Mystery Set Technique that the maison developed in 1933. This exceptional stone-setting method typically omits the use of traditional prongs or bezels to encase gems.

Instead, rail-like casings are first shaped based on design dimensions. Then artisans insert gemstones and secure them in place by sliding each individually-cut stone through its rail casings. It’s a painstaking procedure but this approach allows rows of gems to flank one another with seamless brilliance.

Van Cleef & Arpels Les Jardins SecretsPHOTO COURTESY OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

More signature pieces from the Precious Nature exhibit utilising the technique include the Lourve clip, Gloxinia earrings and Everest necklace. Other standout offerings include the Daisy clip, circa 1964 and Two Flowers brooch, circa 1937. There are also charming lifestyle pieces from 1948, namely the Daisy powder case and Daisy lighter.

Precious Nature by Van Cleef & Arpels opens to the public from 1 February through 16 June 2024 at Les Jardins Secrets by Van Cleef & Arpels. Admission is free, but reservations are required to secure your spot on guided tours conducted by VCA Salon Ambassadors.

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