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Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection is arguably one of the most recognisable jewellery pieces in the world. Thanks to their use of bright coloured gemstones and diamonds, you cannot miss these pieces of jewellery if someone is wearing them. That is the key to this collection’s success, the fact that it is so eye-catching.

In 1954 Van Cleef & Arpels opened a Parisian shop, in an effort to create jewellery that was accessible to most young women. This shop is what led Van Cleef & Arpels to create the Alhambra collection in 1968. The impact this collection has had on the world of jewellery should not be underestimated.

How was the Alhambra design created?

The Alhambra design, as you may be able to guess, is suggested to have been named after the Alhambra Palace which is located in Grenada, Spain. The first Alhambra design was a necklace that had 20 of its signature clover-shaped gems on it. We do not actually know how the design itself was created, but soon after the first necklace was debuted, the pieces took off. The collection was soon seen on many celebrities, like actress Grace Kelly, who was rumoured to have owned this necklace in many different colours.

What does the Alhambra design look like?

Historically, Van Cleef & Arpels have always had a history of using nature and natural materials as inspiration. The Alhambra collection is no different as it uses a selection of natural materials, including mother of pearl, onyx, turquoise, diamonds and malachite. Van Cleef & Arpels are extremely selective with the jewels they use within their pieces, which is why only 1% of the jewels they have go into their pieces. The shape of the Alhambra collection is also reminiscent of a four-leaf clover, a famous symbol that is supposed to provide luck and good fortune.

Which pieces of the Alhambra collection are the most coveted?

Many pieces of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery are seen as rare or extremely coveted. The opera-length necklaces in the vintage Alhambra collections are most sought after, purely because they are a copy of the very first editions of the Alhambra design. Another piece of jewellery that is rare is the turquoise Alhambra set which was first introduced in the 1960s. This is because turquoise which meets the standard Van Cleef & Arpels set for their stones is extremely hard to find. It is good news for anyone who may own these pieces of jewellery, as it means these items will hold their value in the pre-loved market. It is always a good thing to find out that your jewellery has made for an investment.

Do Van Cleef & Arpels still make the Alhambra collection?

The Alhambra collection is still, to this day, the most popular collection Van Cleef & Arpels have. If you were to go and buy a necklace, bracelet or earrings from the collection, you would have to choose from a variety of different gemstones and colours. The idea in recent years is that these individual choices the buyer has to make means that they can wear a piece of jewellery that completely fits in with their current style. For example, if you have a favourite colour, you could opt to buy the Alhambra bracelet in this colour. Van Cleef & Arpels are a brand that allows for personal expression.

Why is the collection so popular?

Pretty much from the day that the collection was released, it was an immediate success. Van Cleef & Arpels already had a history in creating high-end jewellery pieces, and this just added to their expertise in the area. To create the Alhambra collection, many unique skills were needed. From jewellers, stone setters to polishers, it takes a whole host of individuals to create such exquisite pieces of jewellery.

The Alhambra collection has certainly stood the test of time

To this day we are still seeing celebrities across the globe wear the Alhambra pieces of jewellery. The real charm of this collection lies in its ability to seamlessly fit into almost anyone’s current wardrobe. The Alhambra collection has been adapted since its original design to allow for personal expression, which we champion in this day and age. It looks like this collection is to have a bright future if its past history is anything to go by.