Van Cleef a brand known for using cut and faceted
stones for their jewelry has recently beyond their
usual creations when they acquired the “Lesotho
legend” a 910-carat rough diamond found in the
Letseng mine in Southern Africa. This was an
unexpected purchase made by Van Cleef as they are
not accustomed to working with rough diamonds
which meant it was one of their first times working
on a project of this scale. However, they have shown
their talent by creating a breathtaking 25-piece
collection all from this one diamond.
What is quite fascinating is the narrative behind the creation and work behind this collection. It is both impressive and meticulous.
Starting with the purchase of the “Legend Diamond”. It is ranked as the 5th largest in size and quality
diamond to have been on the market, however, Van Cleef did not put much weight regarding the
“ranking” of the stone but rather focused on their approach to this collection. Their aim was to show
their own perspective and narrative as all the decisions made were in their hands. Once they had the
diamond in house, they contacted one of the top-level diamond cutters with whom the Maison spent
over a year mapping the different combinations to create the best stones possible while risking the
least loss possible. They combined each gem with a “mystery set” which is a technique where the
precious stones are set without the use of a metal components. This technique was patented in 1933
and is a high difficulty technique mastered by place Vendome workshops.
This yielded them with 67 individual diamonds of a combined 441.75 carats. This meant the Maison
had lost close to half the stone’s starting weight. Nevertheless, Van Cleef was extremely pleased with
the results as they had participated in all steps of the project (extraction of stone to completing the
collection) and as they managed to reach their goal of magnifying the cuts and having an intense
brilliance on each diamond.
Now that the collection has reached fruition one can observe each piece. The entirety of the collection is unique making it hard to pinpoint only a few pieces. However, the most talked about piece is the “Atours Mystérieux” necklace which is a 80-carat piece. This necklace represents the heritage of the Maison by using a ruby and a diamond which represent two ancient but iconic pieces part of the Maison’s history (Collerette necklace-1938, Majestic diamond necklace – 1939). Thanks to an advanced technique the necklace is transformable meaning the central diamond can be detached and replaced by another or slipped onto another necklace. This detachable technique is used in a numerous of the other pieces.
It can be seen in the “Écho Mysterieux” earrings where neither earring is identical as the colors are reverse and the pendant is detachable. Each diamond in the pendant is around 12.6-carats.
Lastly, one of the key pieces of this collection entitled the “Chevron Mystérieux” is a necklace with three pear-cut diamonds positioned as if they are dripping from the crossover collar. This piece is inspired by the 1950s due to the popularity of crossover necklaces to match with evening gowns.
The size of each pear-cut diamond varies from 12-carats to 31.24. Once again, this necklace is transformable meaning each of the individual diamonds can be removed and used on other earrings or a chain. All in all, making this piece incredibly important to the collection. After having discovered this collection and looked at each piece individually it is important to remember this was all designed from one diamond. This was the first time in a few decades that Van Cleef made a collection from start to
finish. All from one stone, 25 unique pieces were created making this an incredible journey for the Maison.