Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels

Emerald and diamond necklace ending in an elaborate pendant. Emerald and diamond necklace, 1971. Transformable into two bracelets, detachable pendant-clip. Yellow gold, 44 carved emeralds for 477.58 carats, diamonds. In the former collection of Her Highness Begum Salimah Aga Khan. 
Van Cleef & Arpels

Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels will open on June 10 in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, part of the Museum’s Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, with a dazzling celebration of green gemstones as featured in jewelry over the past 100 years. The exhibition includes 44 pieces—32 of which will be on display for the first time in the U.S.—from the collections of renowned French high jewelry maison Van Cleef & Arpels, which since its founding in 1906 has designed jewelry and watches inspired by nature’s lightness, proportions, creatures, and colors. 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our visitors to see these truly spectacular jewelry pieces and we are so grateful to Van Cleef & Arpels for collaborating with the Museum to bring them to New York audiences,” said Museum President Sean M. Decatur. “We hope that, with their curiosity piqued, our visitors will explore further throughout the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and enjoy learning about the physical properties of gems and minerals, their intriguing qualities, and what they tell us about our planet and its history.”

“While the most well-known green gems are emerald and peridot, Garden of Green brings additional green stones, with their beautiful, diverse shades, into the spotlight,” said George Harlow, curator emeritus of the Museum’s Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. “Green stones and minerals owe their unique colors and patterns to various causes—malachite from the copper in its chemical composition, and peridot from the minor quantity and ionic charge of iron in the stone—and each specimen in this exhibition is a beautiful example of the amazing products of natural Earth processes.”

"The Maison is thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to be associated with the American Museum of Natural History. It has been stimulating to curate significant pieces of very high quality around this striking theme–the color green–which can speak to all visitors, curious and connoisseurs alike,” said Nicolas Bos, President and CEO, Van Cleef & Arpels. 

From the fresh, apple-green of peridot to the dark, deep green of malachite, Garden of Green signals the start of summer with a showcase of glamorous green jewels across seven categories:

  • Variations of Green, featuring pieces inspired by the natural world, such as the Cydonia necklace and earrings set (2009), which boasts more than 900 emeralds in a design that evokes the branches and large flowers of the quince tree
  • Jadeite Jade, showcasing pieces from the 1920s, including a silk Art Deco evening bag accented with bright jade and rose-cut diamonds, a jade vanity case, and lapel watch
  • Peridot, featuring a unique jewelry set, with 132 peridots and 580 diamonds artfully arranged to suggest garlands of leaves and flower petals
  • Malachite, a mineral that forms around copper deposits, seen here in striking zodiac-themed pendants, the Alhambra long necklace, and malachite-faced watch from the 1970s
  • Chrysoprase, a lustrous, translucent green variety of chalcedony, complimented by diamonds and rubies and featured in playful animal designs created in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Green Chalcedony, characterized by ultrafine crystals and showcased in jewelry from the 1970s, including a curvaceous bracelet reminiscent of a leafy garland; and
  • Emerald, the treasured green form of beryl that inspired the exhibition’s name: the stone’s unique pattern of inclusions, resembling branches, is called its jardin, French for “garden.” Of the 12 emerald pieces on view, the Quatre Chemins necklace, created in 2019, features a unique set of 16 emerald-cut Zambian emeralds (27.79 carats).

Garden of Green will be on view through January 2024.

This special exhibition is complimented by the spectacular array of green stones, carvings, and jewelry on view throughout the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, including the Patricia Emerald, a 632-carat emerald crystal that was discovered in 1920 in the Chivor Mine in Colombia and is world-famous for its vibrant color and large size; a jadeite jade incense burner from China featuring clouds with three mythical many-headed creatures, possibly dragons; a behemoth beryl from the Bumpus Quarry in Maine; and jewelry featuring green stones, including a piece from Morocco with pendants of aquamarine beryl (ca. 1750), and others.

About Van Cleef & Arpels  

The history of Van Cleef & Arpels traces its roots back to 1895 with the marriage of Estelle Arpels, daughter of a dealer in precious stones, and Alfred Van Cleef, son of a lapidary craftsman and diamond broker. In 1906, they went into business with Estelle’s brothers—Charles, followed by Julien and later Louis—to open the first Van Cleef & Arpels boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, in a Parisian neighborhood renowned for its elegance. The High Jewelry Maison has never moved from that iconic address. Since its creation, Van Cleef & Arpels developed skills that would become its signatures: the Mystery Set technique (patented in 1933), in which metal disappears to better reveal the precious stones, the ingenious vanity case known as the Minaudière, and of course the innovative Zip necklace, inspired by the zipper. Between ingenuity and poetry, the Maison maintains its eminently recognizable style thanks to iconic creations including the Cadenas watch and the Alhambra long necklace. The elegance and finesse of its creations, along with its use of the rarest and most precious materials, enabled Van Cleef & Arpels to earn a reputation as a worldwide reference. An exceptional selection of gemstones and the savoir-faire of the master craftsmen in the Van Cleef & Arpels workshops have brought forth enchanting jewelry and watch collections. 

About L’ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts

Founded in 2012 on Place Vendôme in Paris with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, L’ÉCOLE is the first school to open the world of jewelry arts to the general public. In addition to courses, talks, and exhibitions held throughout the year at its two permanent campuses in Paris and Hong Kong, special programs are held in major international cities such as New York, Tokyo, and Dubai, expanding the scope of learning to a worldwide scale. L’ÉCOLE also supports research in a variety of ways through exhibitions, publications, partnerships with museums and other academic institutions, online educational videos, and a library specialized in jewelry arts.