Canadian author and lecturer Malcolm Gladwell once said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at one’s craft – an average of 90 minutes of practice per day for 20 years. Now imagine the level of dedication, skill, and talent required to master the art of fine jewelry-making at the level required by the legendary maison, Van Cleef & Arpels. It supersedes the “10,000 hour rule” by a long shot.
Each skilled craftsman repeats the action of stone placement, stone-working, mirror-polishing, and other highly specific actions hundreds of times a day. Once an elegant piece of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is finished, it becomes an object of desire. And once it is purchased, it becomes an eternal heirloom. With the label’s new ‘Perlée’ collection, its extraordinary craftsmanship stands in the spotlight. Unimaginably small yellow-gold beads are aligned in perfect rows, and each end is set with a glittering array of diamonds on one side and either turquoise, malachite, or carnelian on the other. The ‘Perlée’ collection also features delicate bracelets that feature rows of round diamonds sandwiched between rows of gold beads.
Decadent without being showy, the collection is a sublime reminder of the beauty that intense attention to detail can yield. Below, a look at a Van Cleef & Arpels artisan in action juxtaposes the bracelet’s precious gems and golden beads against weathered hands that indicate the skill of ages.