VIDEO: Van Cleef and Arpels’ Nicolas Bos Reveals the Secrets of Timeless Design

Come behind the scenes at luxury jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels.

Van Cleef & Arpels model
Van Cleef & Arpels model
Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Patrick McMullan

What does it take to make a timeless piece of jewelry?

artnet News editor-in-chief Benjamin Genocchio sat down with Van Cleef & Arpels CEO and creative director Nicolas Bos to discuss the creative process at one of the world’s most famous luxury jewelry houses.

The high-end designer, which sponsored this year’s Tribeca Ball at the New York Academy of Art, has inspired a museum exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and temporarily hosted L’École, its jewelry-design school, at the museum earlier this year.

In addition to the beauty of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, many pieces are an investment. At Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale, held November 10 in Switzerland, a number of Van Cleef & Arpels pieces were among the auction’s highlights. A charming set of gold ballerina earrings with a matching brooch, set with rose-cut diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, fetched $233,000, while a stunning pair of drop-shaped pearl and diamond earrings brought in $377,501.

What goes into crafting such gorgeous jewelry?

Bos tells us that the design process begins in one of two ways, with a beautiful stone, or with a story that connects to universal truths about humanity, nature, and the world. He says that what he is searching for in great design is timelessness, a quality in the design that makes it seem fresh and relevant no matter when or where the object was designed and made.


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