Julie Clody of VC&A: the “Legend of Diamonds” Collection
By Amrita Katara
Van Cleef & Arpels Hong Kong and Macau managing director Julie Clody shares with us details about how the brand’s latest collection came about, and why it’s dedicated to the maison’s love affair with diamonds
Van Cleef & Arpels has dazzled the world with exquisite jewellery since 1906, when “Estelle Arpels, daughter of a precious stone dealer, married Alfred Van Cleef, son of a family of lapidaries,” says Julie Clody, managing director of Van Cleef & Arpels Hong Kong and Macau. United by their shared love of gems, they opened their first boutique in Paris and launched what would become one of the most storied maisons in high jewellery.
“Their love for gems cannot be questioned, and the very first piece [that] sold in 1906 was heart shaped and studded with diamonds. So diamonds have been part of the history forever. It’s not a matter of ‘let’s be trendy’,” says Clody.
Over the decades, Van Cleef & Arpels gained fame for its innovative designs featuring precious stones of the finest quality and workmanship. The maison pioneered the mystery setting technique in 1933, which secures stones without visible prongs and requires great skill from its artisans’ “golden hands”. Each high jewellery collection takes years to craft, and brings to life the beauty and character of exceptional gems. According to Clody, high jewellery “has the luxury of time”.
“What I love about jewellery is the collective work,” she says. “And in high jewellery, luxury is the time. It takes centuries for the Earth to give birth to the stone, and then [go] from designer to jeweller.”