Among all the fabulous creations of Van Cleef & Arpels, the dainty and delightful Alhambra is its most widely recognised and perennially adored. Launched in the late 1960s when jewellery design was becoming more accessible to reflect the changing social norms, the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra was inspired by the four-leaf clover, bringing good luck wherever it goes—and who wouldn’t want that? In fact, if given a choice, we’d all be wearing Alhambra forever.
Because not only can we choose to wear a single, a few, or a lot of its iconic motifs, there are options aplenty when it comes to colour, size, jewellery type—and now style too, thanks to ace-stylist-slash-fashion-editor-extraordinaire Carine Roitfeld. Van Cleef & Arpels is known to collaborate with French artists and creators of all stripes to express the maison’s vision and identity. This renewed partnership with Roitfeld has generated a series of photographs entitled “Alhambra Forever” and given us tons of styling inspo.
Using the Alhambra motif to the fullest, showing its fluidity and versatility, Roitfeld shares a lesson in styling this iconic collection. She combines a dramatic 20-motif Vintage Alhambra necklace for instance with a single-motif Magic Alhambra long necklace (see top image). Playing with the different motif sizes was clearly the objective here, but Roitfeld cleverly maintains harmony by selecting diamond set florets in white gold for both the pieces.
Likewise for the earrings, which are from the Magic Alhambra collection, and studded with diamonds on white gold.
The 20-motif necklace can also be worn very beautifully as a double tour short necklace, especially when there is alternating grey mother-of-pearl and diamonds on pink gold. Roitfeld completes this minimalist look with a Sweet Alhambra bracelet watch, also with alternating motifs in mother-of-pearl and diamonds.
Since body jewellery is all the rage in the fashion universe now, Roitfeld considers this gorgeous long necklace for the waist. Alternating tiger’s eye and red carnelian instantly jazzes up any look, but of course one could never have too many Alhambra motifs. So she finishes off with a single-motif Magic Alhambra pendant on an extra-long chain.
And who’s to say that one long pendant necklace is all you need? Roitfeld gives us compelling reason to invest in two of them as she twirls one around the neck to layer different lengths for look that is one hundred per cent Parisian chic. You could add matching earrings and a pinkie ring—or not—because with jewellery as timelessly elegant as the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra, the possibilities are literally endless.
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Vintage Alhambra long necklace, 20 motifs
A grail piece, this white gold necklace with 20 motifs paved with diamonds fully expresses the beauty of the Alhambra. Priced at $163,000. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Magic Alhambra, 1 motif
A white gold extra-long chain lets you wear this upsized pendant as a single or double tour. Priced at $42,800. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Magic Alhambra earrings, 3 motifs
Crafted in white gold, three Alhambra in ascending sizes fully studded with diamonds. Priced at $68,500. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Vintage Alhambra long necklace, 20 motifs
Rose gold contrasts elegantly with grey mother-of-pearl alternating with sparkling diamond florets. Priced at $88,500. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Sweet Alhambra watch
Rose gold and white mother-of-pearl accented by diamonds, with the largest floret doubling up as a watch dial. Priced at $31,700. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Magic Alhambra long necklace, 16 motifs
A fabulous yellow gold necklace studded with large and small florets set with tiger eye and red carnelian. Priced at $37,200. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Magic Alhambra long necklace, 1 motif
A tasteful combination of yellow gold and red carnelian on this extra-long delicate gold chain. Priced at $9,200. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Magic Alhambra long necklace. 1 motif
Fully crafted in yellow gold, this upsized Alhambra motif has a sunburst guilloché engraving emanating from its heart. Priced at $11,200. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Vintage Alhambra earrings
Classic earrings combining a border of golden beads with dazzling sunburst guilloché, both decorated and finished by hand. Priced at $7,400. Shop on vancleefarpels.com
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Vintage Alhambra ring
Solid yellow gold single motif ring with a gold bead at the centre radiating handcrafted sunburst guilloché. Priced at $5,100. Shop on vancleefarpels.com