Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels

As the end of summer approaches and we start turning our thoughts to autumn and indoor activities, what could be more enticing than visiting the Garden of Green: Exquisite Jewelry from the Collection of Van Cleef & Arpels at new York City’s American Museum of Natural History? The soothing green of emeralds, the energetic green of peridot and the earthy green of malachite are all center stage at this exhibition which celebrates seven green gemstones and their use in Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry during the past 100 years.

Green in all its Glory

The 44 jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels in the exhibition include 32, which are on display for the first time in the U.S. The Garden of Green exhibition is divided into seven categories, each one paying tribute to a particular glorious green gem. You’ll also see the beauty of green gems juxtaposed with the dynamic hues of other gemstones that support the color green allowing it to blaze in all its glory.

Quatre Chemins necklace in white gold and platinum, sapphires, diamonds and emerald-cut Zambian emeralds weighing a total of 27.79-carats, photo courtesy Van Cleef & Arpels.

The first of the categories is Variations of Green, which showcases jewelry inspired by the natural world. Jadeite Jade highlights pieces from the 1920s, while Peridot features a unique jewelry set that focuses on the bright green gem. Malachite, which is an opaque gem, is shown in a variety of pieces highlighting the versatility of the stone. Chrysoprase is a highly lustrous translucent and vibrant green variety of chalcedony. Green Chalcedony is also one of the categories, which is rounded out by Emerald, a form of green beryl and one of the most coveted of all gemstones. It was emerald that inspired the exhibition’s name, as the unique inclusions in the gem create a pattern that resembles vines and branches. The inside of an emerald is called le jardin, French for garden. The exhibition hall is set up to evoke the feeling of a forest with all of its lush green fullness.

Celebrating Gemstones

Carved emeralds (44) with a total weight of 477.58 carats, diamonds and gold. Necklace is transformable into two bracelets, detachable pendant-clip. In the former collection of Her Highness Begum Salimah Aga Khan, photo courtesy Van Cleef & Arpels.

In an interesting spin on the exhibition, there is detailed information about the seven gemstones highlighted in the show. The American Museum of Natural History wants us to understand more about the planet that we inhabit through gems. “We hope that, with their curiosity piqued, our visitors will explore further throughout the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and enjoy learning about the physical properties of gems and minerals, their intriguing qualities, and what they tell us about our planet and its history,” said Museum President Sean M. Decatur, in a press statement.

Each jewel in the exhibition also showcases the exceptional designs of the Maison and skill of the artisans who created the pieces. You’ll find jewels that once belonged to Her Highness Begum Salimah Aga Khan, as well as pieces loaned from other private collections and from the Van Cleef & Arpels’  collection.

This intriguing collection of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry is on view at the American Museum of Natural History in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, which is located inside the Museum’s new Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. The exhibition runs through January 2024.

Featured image (top of page): Malachite, diamond and gold butterfly clip by Van Cleef & Arpels, photo courtesy Van Cleef & Arpels.

Authored by Amber Michelle