The creativity and craftsmanship of Van Cleef & Arpels is a symbol of this prestigious label. Since the early 20th century VCA has been associated with legendary names like Jacqueline Kennedy, Grace Kelly and Eva Peron, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Liz Taylor and Sophia Loren. The firm was established in 1896 with the wedding of Estelle, daughter of Leon Arpels a precious stones dealer and Alfred Van Cleef, son of a diamond merchant from Amsterdam. Alfred entered into a partnership with his brothers-in-law and formed the new firm. They established their offices at 34 Place Vendome in Paris. The location was advantageous because it was close to the Ritz Hotel which Cesear Ritz opened on June 1, 1898. The hotel became the favorite locale for the wealthy and put VCA at their doorstep. The popularity of the jewelry firm with fashionable clientele prompted Van Cleef & Arpels to open shops in trendy seaside and holiday resorts like Monte Carlo and Nice and later in New York and Palm Beach.
Well aware of societal changes Van Cleef & Arpels was the first jeweler to open a boutique for "haute joaillerie" in 1954. With its collection of less pricey jewelry they not only expanded their clientele but also offered jewelry for young ladies, who at the time and according to the rules of society were not to adorn themselves with heavy jewelry.
In 1972 VCA opened the "Boutique des Heures" offering a selection of exclusive and unique watches.