By Maria Doulton in London
Van Cleef & Arpels' new Cosmos jewels take the floral motif one step further with the introduction of onyx and mother of pearl to a collection that has existed in the house's repertoire since the 1950s. I immediately thought of the Rose de Noël jewels from the 1970s when I was shown the new Cosmos jewels, appropriately on the first day of spring.
Until the arrival of the onyx and mother-of-pearl variants, the Cosmos was made of gold and embellished with diamonds. I think you will agree, the arrival of mother of pearl and onyx adds a whole new dimension to this everyday but still very precious jewellery.
The new collection includes rings, earrings and pendants that are transformable into clips, in varying sizes. I particularly like the Between-the-Finger Rings - one of the most recognisable designs of the house. In fact, the first finger-spanning rings were launched by Van Cleef & Arpels in the early 1970s and, since then, 'Between-the-Finger Ring' has been a registered trademark of the brand.
The Cosmos imitates nature in the most charming way by setting each different-sized, delicately tapered petal at a slight tilt, perfect but individual, just like a freshly plucked bloom. The onyx and mother of pearl are mounted using a soft-edged bezel setting that holds them in place. Eight different sizes of diamonds are set to create a harmonious shower of light, and even the bottom of each jewel is beautifully finished. The baskets under each stone are adorned with tiny leaves that only the wearer will ever see.
The mirror-like brilliance of onyx and the soft shimmer of mother of pearl are materials often employed by Van Cleef & Arpels, bringing a fresh, young look to this classic design. The mother of pearl is chosen for its regular surface and sheen and comes from either Indonesia or Japan. The three-dimensional chubby petals, with their charming asymmetry, glow softly against the pink gold creating a warm and refined look.
The onyx is from Brazil and selected for its brilliance. Meticulously hand-polished, it reveals a tantalizingly deep black colour. I like the drama and modernity of the onyx against white gold, a perfect foil to the diamonds.
The versatility of onyx and mother of pearl means that you can wear these jewels with other Van Cleef & Arpels models like the classic Alhambra necklaces, rings and earrings. The Cosmos will happily sit alongside a Perlée ring or Frivole flower earrings. It really is a case of mix and match your flowers.
Like all Van Cleef & Arpels creations, the devil is in the detail. Despite its innocent, youthful simplicity, the new Cosmos collection is true to the maison's obsession with craftsmanship and perfection in every component of a jewel's creation.