“Talking about love in the language of jewelry is something absolutely universal, it's a long-standing tradition,” says Nicolas Bose, President of Van Cleef & Arpels. "Romeo and Juliet is a love story for all time." This is how the head of the French jewelry house explains the choice of the famous Shakespeare work as the central theme of the new jewelry collection. It must be said that the choreographer Benjamin Millepier, whose work Van Cleef & Arpels has supported for the past few years, also addressed this play. The premiere of the ballet “Romeo and Juliet” to music by Prokofiev will take place in Paris in May 2020, while the public is being presented with separate fragments of the performance, including in the form of short films. And here is the "staging" by Van Cleef &Arpels is ready - most of the more than 100 decorations were presented in one of the mansions on Place Vendome, set by illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti.
The jewelry house has already turned to the great work of world literature. In the early 50s, two brooches were made: Juliet on the openwork balcony and the kneeling Romeo. For a long time, the figurines of lovers were in two private collections, but through the efforts of the guardian of the heritage Catherine Carew they met and never part. The new collection also has brooches in the shape of the main characters with elaborate costumes. Romeo is wearing a tunic made of sapphires and lapis lazuli and a gold cloak polished to shine.
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Juliet is wearing a dress with puffy sleeves and a high waist in the Renaissance style, inlaid with garnets, rubies, orange sapphires. By the way, it was decided to sell these brooches only together (a pair will cost € 700,000).
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Blue belongs to the Montague clan, red to the Capulet family (the corresponding shade of sapphires denotes one of the warring parties), but the palette of purple - as a mixture of red and blue - on the contrary, denotes the union of loving hearts, as, for example, in the Matrimonio necklace.
Matrimonio necklace © press service
“We tried to find a balance between literal reading of Shakespeare's text and its abstract interpretation, not to be too obvious and predictable. And at the same time to depict the Verona of the Renaissance, to accurately convey the details and symbols,”says Bose.
However, the jewelry pieces do not just reproduce the architecture of bridges over the Adige River or the style of Renaissance jewelry, such as a rubellite ring surrounded by coral beads and pearls. Some things need to be considered from the reverse side, although these are not double-sided decorations. Thus, the Balcone brooch recreates the place of a secret meeting between Romeo and Juliet: behind ivy leaves made of emeralds, tsavorites and diamonds, figures of lovers holding hands are hidden. The Night or Day brooch recalls the dramatic scene of predawn birds singing in the garden. Sculptural miniatures of a lark, a harbinger of dawn and parting of lovers, and a nightingale singing only at night, are depicted on the reverse side of a flower brooch made of lapis lazuli petals, between them - a golden sun and a diamond moon replacing each other.And these secret plot moves are known only to the owner of the jewelry.
1 of 8 Lovers' Path Bracelet © Press Service Fiore Bracelet © Press Service Maiolica Necklace © Press Service Night Brooch © Press Service Bud of Love Earrings © Press Service
Among the stones with character (pierres de caractere), we note a 42-carat sapphire (Sri Lanka) in a Maiolica necklace, a trio of Colombian emeralds (with a total weight of almost 40 carats) in a Lovers' Path bracelet, a carved emerald weighing more than 81 carats in a Giardino sautoire-transformer and a pair of delicious pear-shaped aquamarines weighing more than 50 carats each - blue drops adorn the ends of the Fiore bracelet.>