Van Cleef & Arpels: Iconic Pieces, Buying Guide, and More

Van Cleef & Arpels 18K Yellow Gold 3.0ctw Sapphire & .80ctw Diamond RingVan Cleef and Arpels “has always been inspired by the unique creative energy of love, for it was love which brought the Maison into being,” as mentioned by the French luxury brand itself — which has become one of the most prestigious jewelry houses in the world.

Brief History of Van Cleef and Arpels — A Love Story

Nearing the end of the 19th century, a young girl named Estelle Arpels — the daughter of a gemstone dealer — crossed paths with Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a stone-cutter. It was the beginning of a beautiful love story like no other, a grand adventure beyond expectation.

In 1895, Estelle and Alfred married. The couple had much in common: youthful enthusiasm, an ethic of family solidarity, a pioneering spirit, and a deep passion for precious stones. In the years that followed, they were triumphant in making Van Cleef & Arpels (VCA) synonymous with the most exquisite jewelry in the world.

Top Five Most Iconic Pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels

VCA pieces retain their value, making each whimsical accessory an excellent investment. Here are five stunning pieces to consider buying:

  • Alhambra Collection. The four-leaf clover is a common motif throughout Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewelry designs. The inspiration behind the popular theme is a particular habit of Jacques Arpels — the nephew of company founders Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels. Jacques was said to collect clovers from his garden, then presented them to his staff along with a poem. To him, the clover symbolizes hope. A continuing bestseller and terrific example of this clover theme is the Alhambra necklace. Created in 1968, the iconic piece typically inlaid with mother of pearl remains high in demand today.
  • Pégase Necklace. The breathtaking Pégase necklace is set in 18-carat white gold. It features a glorious 45.10-carat emerald cut sapphire, with smaller-scale diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires enveloping it. Its cuff-like closure adorns the neck beautifully, with three large bejeweled pieces draping down like a chandelier. However, the real wonderment to behold is that the necklace opens up to reveal a tiny, diamond-encrusted Pegasus. This removable pendant makes the Pégase necklace one of the most coveted in the convertible Le Secret collection. 
  • Naga Décor Bracelet. This captivating bracelet highlights a three-headed dragon, which VCA artisans said to have fashioned after a Cambodian mythical creature. A stone placed on the beast’s head is symbolic in its guarding of the ocean’s vital energy. Set in pure white gold, a 2.39-carat purple tourmaline, diamonds, colorful and vivid sapphires, tsavorite, turquoise, red spinels, and demantoid garnets decorate the luxurious bracelet. It took about 2900 hours to complete the high-end accessory, which allowed Van Cleef and Arpels to emphasize the bracelet’s unique flexibility, considering it spans from the wrist to the forearm. 
  • The Pierre Arpels Watch. VCA not only makes exquisite jewelry, but they also materialize timepieces, too. The Pierre Arpels watch — also deemed as the “pink shirt of watches” — was a creation of Pierre himself in 1949. In 1971, Van Cleef & Arpels commercialized the watch, extending its relevance to modern fashion sensibilities. Because of its slim and uncomplicated design, some consider the timepiece to be more elegant than manly. Meanwhile, others see it as a piece of remarkable craftsmanship that only a real man can pull off.
  • Minaudiere. If jewelry and timepieces are not your cup of tea, Van Cleef & Arpels offers something more out of the box, as well. Continuing their diverse collection, VCA also manufactures the minaudiere precious case — a small vanity box made of silver, gold, or enamel. Florence Jay Gould inspired the piece, and it pays homage to Alfred’s wife Estelle who was well-known for her smile. The minaudiere precious case comes in several shapes and sizes, making it a useful receptacle for various knickknacks. 

What You Need to Know Before Buying a VCA Piece Van Cleef & Arpels 18k White Gold Perlee Signature Ring

Quality speaks volumes about the authenticity of fine jewelry, and Van Cleef & Arpels is no exception. World-class artisans craft each piece by hand, using only the highest-quality materials and techniques. From jewelry to vanity cases, each one is flawless. Not only is each stone set perfectly in place, but there are also no stains, fading, and rusting on the precious metal. Everything is gleaming and shining, never dull and greenish.

Furthermore, if you have miraculously found a Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry or timepiece being sold for a price too good to be true, it may not be an authentic piece. Remember, Van Cleef & Arpels creates top-notch luxury goods, and the price tag is often steep for a reason. It reflects VCA’s reputation, design, and unparalleled quality.

Last, if you are considering purchasing Van Cleef and Arpels (or any jewelry) on platforms such as eBay or Craigslist, please exercise extreme caution. Most fraudulent sellers offer false information, post photoshopped or stolen photos, and have flimsy or no return policy — a major red flag.

If anything about a VCA piece causes you to question its quality and price, do not waste your time. Impeccable quality and high resale value are two things never absent from a genuine Van Cleef & Arpels fine jewelry piece. 

Are You Looking to Cash in on Your VCA Piece?

If you are looking to sell your VCA jewelry and collectibles, there are many avenues you can take. Still, when considering where to cash in your luxury pieces, you want a business that is trustworthy and has a good reputation in their community. That is why Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is the leading choice for upscale collateral lending or outright selling in Phoenix, AZ.


We offer high values and considerate interest rates, making us an excellent place to put your high-end jewelry up for sale or to use as collateral for a loan.


Complete our online form now to request a FREE market appraisal. You may also visit our location in Chandler or Scottsdale, AZ, where you can cash in your VCA pieces in one day. If you decide to accept our offer, you can walk away with confidence and money in hand.