Van Cleef & Arpels

An 18ct Gold Vintage Alhambra Necklace

A beautiful gold Alhambra necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels c.1970s, the necklace formed of thirty small uniform quatrefoil Alhambra motifs in smooth polished 18ct yellow gold linked immediately to the next one via an oval ring to form an articulated continuous row with a circular clasp. This necklace is an unusual variation on the Alhambra theme and all the lovelier for it. The Alhambra collection was first created in 1968 inspired by the shape of a four-leaf-clover. The original necklace was made in gold and featured twenty of the now iconic four leaf clover motifs linked by short pieces of chain. This traditional and timeless symbol of luck has since been re-imagined many times over and forms the basis of an ever-evolving collection of jewellery, however it is the pieces from the 1960s and 70s that are arguably the most sought after today. Over fifty years after the first necklace was made, Alhambra is as desirable, contemporary and wearable as ever.

Further Details

Condition ReportVery fine
Setting18ct yellow gold signed VCA and numbered
Weight description25 grams
Dimensions14.75" / 37.5cm long
Each motif 0.36" / 0.92cm
MakerVan Cleef & Arpels

Directors Notes

The first Alhambra necklace was a long gold sautoir made in 1968 and influenced by shapes and patterns that Jacques Arpels noted on his travels. At the Doge’s Palace in Venice and the Alhambra in Grenada he saw repeated use of traditional quatrefoil motifs which called to mind the four-leaf clovers he loved to look for in his garden at home in France. A great believer in lucky charms and talismans, Jacques would pick these ‘lucky’ four-leaf clovers to give to friends and colleagues so it seems unsurprising that this motif would work its way into the Maison’s jewellery sooner or later. The original gold necklace from 1968 was soon joined by brightly coloured versions inlaid with gem materials such as malachite, lapis, turquoise, carnelian, mother of pearl and onyx. It wasn’t long before these caught the attention of some of the most glamourous women of the time including Princess Grace of Monaco who was often photographed wearing multiple Alhambra necklaces layered together. Since then, this traditional and timeless symbol of luck has been re-imagined many times over and the collection, which now includes rings, watches, bracelets, pendants and more, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.


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Van Cleef & Arpels

On June 16th 1906 Van Cleef & Arpels opened the doors to their first boutique at number 22, Place Vendôme. Next door to Lalique, opposite the Ritz and a stones throw from Boucheron, this would prove to be the first of many boutiques that the highly successful Maison would open around the world during the 20th Century.

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