Manchettes necklace & bracelets formerly owned by Daisy Fellowes, 1926 / 1928, Private Collection
In 1920s, clients from the Western world were captivated by the exotic Indian style. One such client was Daisy Fellowes, the famous socialite and one of the most stylish women of the 20th century. On several occasions her love for beautiful stones took her to India, where she found the inspiration for many of her jewelry pieces.
Special order book page and Baroda necklace commissioned by the Maharani of Baroda, 1951, Private Collection
Van Cleef & Arpels’ love of India is partly explained by their most exclusive clients. Indeed, the Maison has created numerous jewels and precious objects for maharajahs and Indian princesses. One of the most famous of them was the Maharani of Baroda. Nicknamed “The Indian Wallis Simpson”, she had a true passion for gemstones and owned a fabulous collection of more than three hundred pieces of jewelry dating from the Mogul era, in addition to other Indian jewelry and pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels.
Claude et Pierre Arpels in India, circa 1950, Van Cleef & Arpels' Archives
India was also a land of opportunities for the Arpels’ brothers, Claude and Pierre, who often travelled there in search of the finest precious stones. During one of his trips to India in 1956, Claude Arpels brought back the famous “Neela Ranee” or “Blue Princess”, a 114-carat sapphire that was later set in a sumptuous necklace ordered by the socialite Florence Jay Gould.
Hindu clip, 1924, Van Cleef & Arpels Collection / Hindu bracelet retail card, 1924, Van Cleef & Arpels' Archives
The multicolored jewelry and extravagant baroque designs of India have been a cherished source of inspiration for some of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most extraordinary pieces since the 1920s. Among them is this extravagant Hindu bracelet design, later transformed into a clip…
Paon vanity, circa 1950, Van Cleef & Arpels Collection / Dragon bracelet, 1974, Private Collection
…this beautiful blue Indian peacock-adorned vanity case reflecting the vibrant style and colors of Indian designs and this coral, emerald, and sapphire. Dragon bracelet representing the Indian mythological creature “Makara”…
Indian Embroidery necklace, 1970, Van Cleef & Arpels Collection / Paisley clip, 1966, Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
… and these delicate choker necklace and clip inspired by Indian embroideries and fabrics.
Panka Set, 1974, Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
An exotic Indian flavor has been present in various High Jewelry collections. One famous example is the Panka necklace, created in 1974. The combination of stones and the shape of the necklace epitomize the Indian style. This beautiful tassel necklace is made of round and oval-shaped turquoise cabochons and brilliant-cut diamonds mounted in yellow gold.
Makara Ring, 2011, Bals de légende collection
The Indian theme even appears in recent High Jewelry collections, such as Bals de Légende in 2011. This colorful Makara ring, set in white and yellow gold and set with diamonds, turquoises, mauve and pink sapphires, peridots, and a 30.76-carat cushion-cut yellow sapphire, is inspired again by a mythological Hindu animal.