An Inside Look at “Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels”
A new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York takes visitors on an odyssey through an enchanted forest. What kind of treasures should one expect to see on the way? Bejeweled flora, of course.
By STELLENE VOLANDES
Aug 21, 2023
Town & Country Magazine
The dialogue between the earth and your brooch is the subject of a new exhibit at the Natural History Museum in New York City. Listen carefully.
Peridots, mauve sapphires, and diamonds, from the Les Jardins collection, 2009 (Lead photo)
Iron and magnesium might not be the first things that come to mind when you see this Van Cleef & Arpels peridot, mauve sapphire, and diamond brooch, but you have them to thank for the privilege of looking at it. They are the dominant ingredients in its central stone, the ones that give it its signature verdant hue. This is the kind of thing you learn touring the new “Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels” exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History (through January). There, in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, part of the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, stories that begin deep in the earth and end with jewels sparkling on your lapel become central in explaining the beauty of each of the 44 Van Cleef & Arpels pieces on display, 32 for the first time in the United States. Process is what visitors are most impressed by in this hall: how stones are formed within the earth and rise to the surface, and are then cut and smoothed and faceted before being designed into jewels for personal adornment. That this has been continuing for eons is made loud and clear here, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world. All that in one intricately carved tree brooch.