Van Cleef & Arpels

Not every day can you get up close and personal with the heritage treasures of a jewellery house as esteemed as Van Cleef & Arpels. At its new Raffles Arcade boutique, which boasts a floral scenography designed by acclaimed French interior architect Jean Baptiste Auvray, the push of a button unveils Les Jardins Secrets, an elegant exhibition space that houses rotating thematic showcases of over 110 years of its history.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Raffles Arcade boutique, which is adjacent to Raffles Hotel Singapore (Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Curated from its patrimonial archives, private collectors, and the exhibitions of the maison’s L’Ecole, its school of jewellery arts based in Paris and Hong Kong, each showcase is designed to highlight the house’s dedication to beauty, culture and craftsmanship since its birth in 1906. This initiative also encapsulates Van Cleef & Arpels‘ core values of creation, transmission and education, which are, for the first time, presented in a regular format to a public audience in Singapore.

A Mystery Set blue sapphire and diamond necklace from the maison’s archives (Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Nicolas Luchsinger, president of Van Cleef & Arpels Asia-Pacific, cannot be prouder of this project: “We want to continue to inspire our audiences with poetic collections and stories. We have thoroughly curated an exclusive space that harmoniously marries Van Cleef & Arpels‘ rich heritage with the enchantment of the Garden City.” At the current Precious Nature instalment, which runs until June 16, expect to see various bejewelled iterations of nature dear to the Parisian house. There are engraved gold daisies, petals and leaves in Mystery Set rubies and blue sapphires, wood-sculpted Christmas roses, and pearls cascading like water droplets. 

A voluptuous Christmas Rose or Rose de Noel wood and diamond clip from 1999 (Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Study the displays closely, and you will see how the refinement in techniques has rendered the creations more lifelike, sculpted, and layered over the decades – especially in the maison’s signature Mystery Set creations. Pioneered in 1933, the technique involves placing precision-cut precious stones into a gold railing sub-structure, in a way that the entire surface is covered. The result: A captivating velvety sheen that showcases the impeccable quality of the gems. So technically demanding is this form of savoir faire that only a handful of artisans have mastered it. Typically only rubies, blue sapphires, emeralds and diamonds are used, and it can take up to eight hours of work to cut each stone.

And don’t forget to look out for the Legend of Diamonds 2022 Ornement Mysterieux, a white and rose gold brooch adorned with Mystery Set rubies and extraordinary diamonds cut from the 910-carat Lesotho Legend diamond rough the brand purchased in 2018. It is one of seven stunning high jewellery pieces on loan from a collector.

Legend of Diamonds 2022 Ornement Mysterieux on loan from a collector (Credit: Van Cleef & Arpels)

Admission is free, but visits must be pre-booked here. If you’re inspired to shop, browse the boutique’s selections of the iconic Alhambra, Perlee, and Frivole collections before you leave.