Biennale des Antiquaires 2014: Van Cleef and Arpels narrates a magical fairytale through a spellbinding collection of high jewellery

Once upon a time, Van Cleef & Arpels launched a magical collection of high jewellery called Peau d'Âne for the 2014 Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris.

Van Cleef & Arpels Peau d'Ane Enchanted Forest collection Donkey Skin clip in white gold with round, square and pear-cut white, pink and grey diamonds.

The beautiful princess, the magical castle, an enchanted forest, a kind fairy godmother and, of course, the dashing prince and a happily-ever-after ending. All the essential ingredients of a spellbinding fairytale are brought to life in the most luxurious and opulent way imaginable thanks to Van Cleef & Arpels' Peau d'Âne high jewellery collection.

Inspired by the classic French fairytale of the same name, the storyline is recounted through a glittering array of jewels. Written by Charles Perrault, Peau d'Âne was first published in 1694 and tells the story of a princess who runs away from the castle after the death of her mother sends the king mad. She hides her regal dresses and jewellery in a chest and conceals herself in a donkey hide before seeking refuge in an enchanted forest, where she is found by the prince, who instantly falls in love with her. One of France's most popular fairytales, it was adapted by several authors, including the Brothers Grimm, and also made into a film starring Jean Marais and Catherine Deneuve in 1970.

Using the very finest gems in a rhapsody of colours, Van Cleef & Arpels' gemmologists have worked hard to ensure that each piece reverberates with the emotions contained in the story. Rubies, sapphires, tourmalines, turquoise, garnets and spinels in vivid combinations come to symbolise the different chapters of the story.

A sparkling Van Cleef & Arpels brooch in the shape of the Lilac Fairy's magic wand casts a spell with pink, purple and blue sapphires. The vivid colours are further emphasised by white diamonds in a star-shaped setting.

The Van Cleef & Arpels rings in this high jewellery collection are nothing short of spectacular. The Cadeau d'Orient ring marries a daring but stunning combination of gems, from turquoise and purple sapphire to coral and emeralds. The bold chromaticism was a hallmark of 1960s Van Cleef & Arpels in pieces inspired by the Near East.

A closer look at the Forêt Merveilleuse brooch reveals a tiny diamond encrusted house representing the farm where the princess hides after escaping from the castle. Hidden by the dense forest foliage of yellow diamonds, emeralds and pink and purple sapphires, the brooch narrates a key chapter of the fairytale in the most luxurious way.

The Peau d'Âne collection was launched with great fanfare at an extravagant party at the Château de Chambord earlier this month, and the jewels are bound to be one of the highlights at the Biennale des Antiquaries in September. The Paris showcase is all about fantasy and will see the most exquisite Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery displayed in a stunning setting, so what could be more fitting than a collection that conjures up the enchanting magic of our childhood fairytales? 

To read more stories on the Biennale de Paris this September, please click here.

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