Exploring the worlds of exquisite jewellery and their links to minerals, Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems exhibition will premiere at Marina Bay Sands’ ArtScience Museum on April 23. Co-curated with ArtScience Museum, over 400 stunning creations from Van Cleef & Arpels and 250 minerals from the French National Museum of Natural History Collection will be on display.

A first for Van Cleef & Arpels, the exhibition will feature two complementing routes to showcase the intersection between the science of mineralogy and the art of jewellery making: one route unearths the evolution of minerals from the deep Earth to its surface, and the other presents the transformation of these minerals into precious works of art in the hands of the Maison’s best craftsmen, known as the “Mains d’Or”.

Bouquet clip, 1940 - Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Bouquet clip, 1940 – Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Egyptian inspiration bracelet, 1924 - Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Egyptian inspiration bracelet, 1924 – Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Bird clip and pendant, 1971-1972 - Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels
Bird clip and pendant, 1971-1972 – Patrick Gries © Van Cleef & Arpels

Documenting over 100 years of history, Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems is the largest heritage exhibition of Van Cleef & Arpels, in collaboration with French National Museum of Natural History, at L’École Van Cleef & Arpels’ invitation. The stunning pieces of the exhibition are from the Maison’s archive collection, and also include pieces on loan from private collectors globally. Co-curated with ArtScience Museum, this is the first-of-its-kind exhibition that blends art, craft, history and geoscience with the elegance and style that characterises Van Cleef & Arpels’ rich heritage.

The Singapore exhibition follows a series of seven defining themes: couture, abstractions, influences, precious objects, nature, ballerinas and fairies, and icons. In conjunction with these breath-taking creations are natural treasures and scientific artefacts from Minerals and Gems Collection of the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France.

“We are privileged to work together with the prestigious Maison of Van Cleef & Arpels on presenting this unique exhibition which explores both the artistic skills required for the creation of exquisite jewellery, and the scientific processes involved in the formation of minerals that are used to create gems. The exhibition blends art, crafts, history and geoscience in a highly distinctive manner, taking visitors on a dramatic journey that begins with the origin of minerals within the heart of the Earth, and culminates with the extraordinary craftsmanship that transfigures these gems into works of art,” said Ms Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.

One of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most striking special orders is a flying bird carrying a briolette-cut yellow diamond of 96.62 carats. In the 1930s, this unique gem belonged to the opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska, who wore it as a pendant. In keeping with Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of transformability, the bird can also metamorphose into a pair of winged earrings and even a brooch, while the magnificent yellow diamond can be detached from the clip and worn alone as a pendant.

“The history of Van Cleef & Arpels – which began in 1906 in Paris, the cradle of French High Jewellery – reflects over a century of creative and inventive jewellery making. The pieces brought together for this exhibition express the diversity of the Maison’s styles and sources of inspiration, along with the excellence of its savoir-faire and its passion for precious stones. They provide a perfect illustration of ‘The Art and Science of Gems’,” said Nicolas Bos, President and CEO, Van Cleef & Arpels.

“The National History Museum in Paris holds for long large collections of rare minerals. Among them, several bearing strange names such as corindon, tourmaline, pyroxen etc. are the “stones” which are raw materials for jewel makers. Such an exhibition where the paths of science and art cross is the place to be, and the place to collaborate in a hybrid field that we could call ‘geo- jewellery’. It is a way to promote the National Museum of Natural History collections for public pleasure and education purposes,” commented Bruno David, President, National Museum of Natural History.

Tickets for the Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems exhibition will be available on April 1 at all Marina Bay Sands box offices and website. Terms and conditions apply.

Exhibition dates: 23rd April to 13th August 2016.

For more information, please visit www.marinabaysands.com/artsciencemuseum.

Note: Image credits belong to Van Cleef & Arpels