• Magnificent Jewels & The Archd auction at Christies

    Sale 1393

    Magnificent Jewels & The Archduke Joseph Diamond

    13 November 2012, Geneva

  • Lot 223

    A SET OF EMERALD AND DIAMOND 'ZIP' JEWELLERY, BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SET OF EMERALD AND DIAMOND 'ZIP' JEWELLERY, BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
    The necklace designed as a yellow gold zipper trimmed by openwork heart motifs set with circular-cut emeralds and diamonds, to the circular-cut diamond and yellow gold tag and tassel, the upper part of the necklace may be removed and the necklace 'zipped' to form a bracelet, a bracelet en suite, 1955, necklace 38.0 cm, bracelet 15.8 cm, with French assay marks for platinum and gold, necklace in dark blue leather Van Cleef & Arpels pouch, bracelet in brown suede Van Cleef & Arpels pouch
    Signed Van Cleef & Arpels, nos. 71559 (necklace) and 3935 C.S. (bracelet) (2)


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    One of the most innovative jewels ever created, the 'Zip' necklace is an iconic design of Van Cleef & Arpels. Legend has it that the Duchess of Windsor asked Renée Puissant, daughter of Alfred Van Cleef and Creative Director of the jewellery house from 1926 to 1942, to create for her a jewelled zip fastener to wear with her evening gowns.
    Although the patent was registered in 1938, it was not before World War II was over that the first 'Zip' necklace was actually produced. Capturing the spirit of the time and the 'Couture' style of the 1950s, the 'Zip' necklace is also a staggering technical achievement. The upper part of the necklace can be detached, the necklace is then 'zipped' into a bracelet, the gold thread tassel hanging on the side of the arm.
    Few of these versatile jewels were made during the 1950s, which certainly explain why less than 10 have ever appeared at auction. Van Cleef & Arpels has recently launched a new collection of modern 'Zip' necklaces (see lot 321), celebrating this incredible piece of jewellery, the perfect link between 'Haute Joaillerie' and 'Haute Couture'.

    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN FAMILY


    Literature

    To see examples of 'Zip' necklaces and bracelets:
    - S. Raulet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Editions du Regard, Paris, 1986, p.235
    - Exhibition catalogue The Spirit of Beauty, Tokyo 31 October 2009 - 17 January 2010, Editions Xavier Barral, Paris, 2009, pp.114-115 and 129
    - M. Petit, Van Cleef & Arpels, Reflections of Eternity, Editions Cercle d'Art, Paris, 2006, pp.158 and 211
    - S. Raulet, Bijoux des ann©es 1940-1950, Editions du Regard, Paris, 1987, p.188
    - M. Gabardi, Les bijoux des années 50', Editions de l'amateur, Paris, 1987, pp.67-68 and 133