With the Month of Leo (July 23 – August 22) drawing to a close, what will commemorate the passing of time? Van Cleef & Arpels introduces two specially created jewellery sets (Poetic Constellations and Golden Medals) that pay homage to infinite imagery conjured by vast skies and gleaming nebulae. The collection is based on the House’s 1950s lucky gold coin pendants and a combination of rare decorative stones with subtle colour variations. With the blend of nature and uncharacteristically poetic astronomy, these creations reproduce the symbolism of twelve constellations while honouring its timeless legacy.
With strong artisan craftsmanship, the Zodiaque collection consists of 12 long necklaces that reinterpret the 12 zodiac symbols and pay tribute to the colourful pendants designed by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1970s. Each pendant is adorned on both sides with a motif where a vivid three-dimensional scene was cast in a square and carefully carved into a lifelike exquisite piece. The front is dominated by statues, combined with natural elements representing individual constellations, echoing the traditional astronomical sign symbols. Animals and people are depicted, while the background is abstracted with fire, wind, water, or earth signs in sharp strokes reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Rose gold textures bring the work to life. The same technique is used to sculpt the back of the long necklace, where the constellation symbols, names, and dates are shown on the back of the gold pendant.
The decorative gem of flowery profusion is the icing on the cake, showcasing the unique personality of each constellation. The prosperous variety of gemstones creates an unusual mineral composition rarely seen in jewellery design. Oddly, the clashing beauty of gems interwoven shares a harmonious form of colours, echoing the four elements (water, air, fire and earth).
The gemstones of water signs are about boundless seas: the blue stone of Cancer reflects the vastness and depth of the ocean; the albite of Pisces surges in white waves; the turquoise of Scorpio recreates the clarity of the exotic coast.
Meanwhile, the dazzling nuance of earth constellations echoes the lush nature Van Cleef & Arpels has inspired since its founding: Malachite shows undulating patterns in Virgo; randomly stained sand goldstone in Taurus, and vivid amazonite for Capricorn.
For air signs, the gemstones capture the ethereal poetry of the night sky. The blue lapis lazuli on the Geminis pendant shows flashes of gold, contrasting with the blue placenta of Aquarius and the overtones of shimmering gold obsidian for Libra.
The fire signs are embellished with graphic elements: the iron tiger’s eye in Aries is a texture that evokes fire and lava. Aries with its iron tiger’s eye texture, reminiscent of fire and lava; Sagittarius with its red Peter’s stone resembling volcanic lava; and the red jasper; the mottled pattern of red jasper brings Leo to life.
The second collection of 12 pieces fashioned as round pendants in yellow gold, reimagined the Van Cleef & Arpels Constellations collection that launched in the 1950s. Throughout the generations, 12 constellations have been presented in different sizes and designs. Fast forward to the 2000s, bracelets, pendants, chest pins, and cufflinks in the name of constellations have remained in the history of the House.
Today, the Maison rebuilds the constellation pendants to celebrate their rich historical heritage. Van Cleef & Arpels brought them to life with a new size of 21 angular meters in diameter, highlighting the symbolism and closeness of the constellations. In keeping with its small and intimate designs, the piece is made of meticulously polished yellow gold and decorated on both sides with intricately detailed reliefs depicting the constellations’ images, corresponding dates, and symbols. The pendant is thus a personal remembrance of the wearer.
Van Cleef & Arpels has been placing its desire for the heavens in its watches over the years. In 2018, the Maison presented the Zodiaque Lumineux watch collection, which reproduces the stars on a magnificent dial. In harmony with the constellation symbols, an infinite sea of stars is paired with its ingenious mechanism.
Bringing the rhythm of the universe to life, the twelve men’s Midnight Zodiac Lumineux model (left) recreates the twinkling of stars through an exclusive light-up model. The timepiece is carefully sculpted from white gold, and the zodiac signs contrast with a shimmering blue enamel background that echoes the sky. Alternatively, the twelve women’s Lady Arpels Zodiaque Lumineux models (right) in Leo are traditionally associated with a noble, courageous and generous character.
For more information about the collection, visit here.