The latest high jewellery collection by Van Cleef & Arpels contains an astounding 3,000 carats of rubies—and there’s still much more than meets the eye, writes Charlene Co
We pull up on the driveway of the century-old former home of the Nai Lert family, one of Thailand’s most prominent. A calm, lush expanse of parkland strewn with heritage buildings, the Nai Lert Park Heritage Home is miles away from the noise and traffic of the city of Bangkok, providing a welcome sense of peace as we prepare to view Van Cleef & Arpels’ latest high jewellery collection, Treasure of Rubies.
And serenity is what is required to fully appreciate the pageantry of the collection, which comprises a staggering 3,000 carats of rubies set in 60 high jewellery pieces—20 of which are transformable—displayed on white stone busts. The French maison chose a glasshouse in the heritage compound to show the lustrous collection, with natural light coming from every direction to best animate the fiery red hue of the rubies. The effect is spectacular, and I’m instantly aware I’ll probably never again see such a display of exceptional stones and jewellery in one place.
Treasure of Rubies is the latest addition to Van Cleef & Arpels’ Pierres de Caractère collections, which pay homage to the beauty of specific gems—their enchanting hues and the emotions they evoke—as opposed to the maison’s figurative, conceptual collections, such as last year’s memorable Quatre Contes de Grimm inspired by the tales of the Brothers Grimm.
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