It's undoubtedly one of the hot trends for jewellery this year. Rings have broken away from the classic circular band, and are being worn in all sorts of ways, stacked along the finger, and between the fingers. For Van Cleef & Arpels it has been a highlight of their collections from the early 1970s, and 'Entre les Doigts' is one of the maison's registered trademarks.
The beauty of the Between-the-Finger ring is all to do with movement. Because the top part of the band is absent, the decorative motif, whether bird, flower or plant-inspired, seems to float above the fingers. In some models, the position of the two extremities can be changed to give the piece an entirely new character. In the 'Two Butterfly Between-the-Finger ring,' the motifs are sculpted in open-worked gold, so that light enters the stones from both below and above, increasing their inner light. The Oiseaux de Paradis ring spreads its wings over three fingers, drawing attention to the oval-cut pink sapphire at the centre.
A much more complex story is told by the Peau d'Âne collection of high jewellery, featuring Van Cleef & Arpels' 'Pierres de Caractères' that generate unique emotions through their clarity, intense colour or traditional cuts. The creations in the collection evoke scenes from the like-named fairy tale, using the language of colour.
The Château enchanté clip is a fine example. It depicts the castle featuring in the story, in the form of white gold with diamonds, pink and purple sapphires, and an oval-cut emerald of 39.85 carats, extraordinary with its unique blue-green colour. Peau d'Âne herself is portrayed in the three dresses given to her by her father, one in the colours of the sky, one in the colour of the moon, and the third the colour of the sun. They are painted using swathes of carefully-selected stones, with a dominance of green, blue and yellow respectively.
As the story develops, Peau d'Âne flees from the castle into the forest, and the jewellery accompanies the twists in the plot with pieces such as the Forêt merveilleuse clip, the Gâteau d'amour ring, and the Miroir enchanté necklace and detachable clip. Emerald features strongly in collection, with many splendid stones in compositions that require all the talent of the virtuoso Van Cleef & Arpels craftsmen. In the Émeraude en majesté necklace, there are 29 emeralds for a total of 195.11 carats. This piece reflects another Van Cleef & Arpels speciality: transformability. The necklace can be worn in no less than five ways.
Of course, this tale has a happy ending, accompanied by a series of pieces such as the Pour toujours ring that celebrates the marriage of Peau d'Âne to the prince of a neighbouring kingdom.
Translated into jewellery, Peau d'Âne is a fascinating, captivating ensemble, a tribute to the design and haute joaillerie skills that ensure that Van Cleef & Arpels have always figured strongly in auction rooms the world over for their historic yet effortlessly contemporary jewellery.