Van Cleef & Arpels - Jewels & Jadeite Hong Kong Sunday, November 24, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Van Cleef & Arpels, 'An Elegant and Iconic Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire and Diamond 'Zip' Necklace', Lot 656

    Jewels & Jadeite, 25 November

    • Necklace set with calibrè-cut lapis lazuli, step-cut sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds

    • Tassel set with graduating lapis lazuli beads
      Diamonds totalling approximately 8.00 carats

    • 18 karat white gold

    • French assay mark

    • Signed Van Cleef & Arpels and numbered JH 001672

    • Necklace and bracelet lengths approximately 465 and 205mm respectively

    With a Van Cleef & Arpels fitted box and extra bracelet fitting

  • Catalogue Essay

    Often hidden on modern day garments as a functional component, zippers were invented in the late 19th century specifically for high-button boots. Later in the 1930’s, it made its way to haute couture as a practical substitute for buttons and hook-and-eye closures. Legend has it that the Duchess of Windsor saw this humble accessory on a dress created by one of her favourite couturiers Elsa Schiaparelli and in 1938, she told Renée Puissant, the then Creative Director of Van Cleef & Arpels, how she thought it could be transformed into an amazing jewel. The Maison eventually lived up to that expectation and made an accomplishment far beyond imagination.

    The idea to translate a zipper into an elegant piece of jewellery was proven to be technically challenging. Even with the exceptional prowess of Van Cleef & Arpels, who also famously invented the emblematic mystery-setTM, it took their craftsmen more than a decade to perfect the ‘zip’ mechanism. The first-ever zip necklace (collier fermeture éclair) debuted in 1951, with an ingenious design that allows it to be zipped open as a necklace and zipped together into a bracelet.

    Very few examples were made since then, which could be explained by the amount of time required to complete one necklace – anywhere from 400 to 1200 hours with skilled craftsmen. The ‘zip’ is composed of a series of tiny gold or platinum cups held by hooks, which mesh with each other when brought together by a sliding closure. Aside from the technical mastery, the versatility of a zip necklace was also the reason for its iconic status in the high jewellery world.

    In recent years, Van Cleef & Arpels revisited the design and created a limited number of ‘zip’ necklaces, experimenting with various lengths, different closure configurations and daring colour combinations of gemstones. Many of the longer versions function only as a necklace.

    This ‘zip’ necklace on offer, studded with an elegant palette of blue gemstones and diamonds, belongs to the very few examples that appear in international auctions. It is an exemplary jewel honouring the original idea where it is convertible into a bracelet with an attractive lapis lazuli tassel charm. The 18 karat white gold sets it apart from vintage examples of the same design, heighted by modernity in a refined tone of ultramarine. At the heart of this masterpiece is the originality in the Maison’s creation and highly specialized and exclusive artistry.

  • Artist Biography

    Van Cleef & Arpels


    When Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels fell in love, their marriage paved the way for iconic jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels to become a symbol of unification. With their background in precious stone dealing, the Arpels found their perfect match in the Van Cleefs, a family of expert stonecutters. In 1906, Estelle's brother Charles established the company name with Alfred's help and opened shop in the Place Vendôme in Paris. To this day, this Parisian neighborhood is associated with turn-of-the-century luxury.

    The Van Cleef & Arpels aesthetic has always had its finger on the pulse of worldwide trends: For example, the house took inspiration from Tutankhamen upon the Egyptian king's discovery in the 1920s, which spurred a global phenomenon marrying Egyptian Revival and Art Deco motifs. Over the decades, Van Cleef & Arpels has produced intricate watches, earrings and necklaces with a signature elegance that mirrors contemporary tastes. 

    View More Works


An Elegant and Iconic Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire and Diamond 'Zip' Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels

Signed Van Cleef & Arpels and numbered JH 001672
Necklace and bracelet lengths approximately 465 and 205mm respectively

HK$3,500,000 - 4,500,000 

Sold for HK$4,350,000

Contact Specialist
Terry Chu
Head of Jewellery, Asia, Senior Director
+852 2318 2038

Jewels & Jadeite

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2019