To kick off Hancocks London’s Jewel of the Month series for 2022, Director Guy Burton has chosen a striking gold and diamond fringe necklace.
Made in 1954 by Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris, this ‘Cheveux D’Ange’ necklace was designed as a highly flexible row of 18ct yellow gold ‘angel hair’ threads which taper in length from front to back creating a bib-like shape. To the front half of the necklace, each alternate thread is finished with a platinum tear drop set with round diamonds graduating in size towards a full row of round brilliant diamonds set, off-centre, next to the longest thread. This creates an asymmetric overlapping feature which adds depth and dimension to this wonderful piece. Guy Burton, Director, Hancocks London, comments: “Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic ‘Thread’ inspired jewels of the 1950s sought to explore the relationship between haute joaillerie and haute couture. These designs include the ‘Cheveux D’Ange’ or ‘Angel Hair’ jewels. Fabric and textiles were a continuous source of inspiration for Van Cleef and this fascination filtered through into their designs in more or less literal ways. This particular piece resembles an asymmetric collar one might see on a dress from this period. “The solid gold threads of this beautiful necklace form a surprisingly fluid fringe of hair-like filaments which flow gracefully around the neck, making it a joy to wear. It is a truly beautiful statement jewel, expertly conceived by Van Cleef & Arpels and executed by the workshop of renowned master craftsman Georges Lenfant.”
Lenfant could be described as one of the unsung heroes of 20th Century French jewellery. A hugely skilled designer and manufacturer, he was a Cartier work master and made jewellery for many of the top Parisian houses including Van Cleef & Arpels. Guy Burton sums up: “For many years the Lenfant name was largely unknown outside of the trade but it is now becoming more widely recognised as a sign of exceptional gold work and the finest quality craftsmanship. So to have both the Van Cleef & Arpels signature coupled with the Lenfant maker’s mark on this piece really is as good as it gets.”