Jacques Arpels used to say, “To be lucky, you have to believe in luck,” and the man was definitely a believer. A born collector, he enjoyed gathering four-leaf clovers in the garden of his house in Germigny-l’Évêque. But rather than keep them for himself, he’d give them out to his staff, accompanied by the American poem Don’t Quit by John Greenleaf Whittier. An encouragement to never give up hope, no doubt, and a sentiment echoed throughout the Van Cleef & Arpels iconic Alhambra collection.
Its quatrefoil motif derives directly from the four-leaf clover, where the leaves each stands for faith, hope, love, and luck. But while the Alhambra was introduced in 1968—as a response to the growing demand for a more accessible line of everyday wearable jewellery—Van Cleef & Arpels had drawn inspiration from this lucky shrub as early as in the 1920s.
The notion of jewellery as a precious talisman or good luck charm always resonated with this maison, for whom beautiful ornamental gemstones and crystals were a permanent obsession.
In addition to classics such as mother-of-pearl, onyx, turquoise, and carnelian, Van Cleef & Arpels constantly broadens the Alhambra collection with stones of all colours and symbolisms. Green malachite, Tiger’s Eye, chalcedony, coral, lapis lazuli, letterwood, and blue agate have all made special appearances in the Alhambra collection.
For 2021/22 the maison welcomed the first Alhambra pendant featuring rhodonite, a rosy pink stone flecked with light brown inclusions and delicate white crystals.
Known as the “rescue stone” for its healing properties, rhodonite was a favourite of the Russian Czars and often gifted at royal weddings. In this limited edition Vintage Alhambra pendant, the stone’s delicate pink hue is accentuated with a single bezel-set round diamond and hemmed with elegant golden beads of rose gold.
If you’re lucky enough to score one, you could even have a little message or name engraved on the back. Wear it close to your heart this Chinese New Year and absorb all the luck and love around you.