A rose gold Alhambra necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, 2014, the 33.5” necklace features twenty textured double sided clover motifs in 18ct rose gold with a beaded border, joined by oval links with flattened edges to a lobster clasp. The Alhambra collection was first created in 1968 inspired by the shape of a four-leaf-clover. The original necklace was very like this one, made in gold and featuring 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 this original design that is arguably the most sought after and over fifty years after the first necklace was made it is as desirable, contemporary and wearable as ever.
Van Cleef & Arpels
18ct rose gold with French marks
Necklace 33.5″/ 85cm long
Each link 0.55″/1.4cm x 0.55″/1.4cm
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.