Masterpiece London Art Fair, celebrating the best in design from the worlds of art, furniture and jewellery, has returned once again, and with it the chance to experience exquisite craftsmanship. Van Cleef & Arpels, exhibiting at the fair for the eighth time, is showing heritage pieces to mark the occasion, with unique objects and jewels encapsulating Masterpiece London’s savoir-faire spirit.

Highlights from the maison include the Rêveries de Berylline automaton, continuing Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of telling the time in a creative way. Named after a species of hummingbird, the bird, set with sapphires, emeralds and tsavorite garnets with a briolette-cut sapphire dangling from its beak, is only revealed when a flower spreads its rainbow petals, showcasing the hummingbird’s beating wings and rhythmic pirouettes.

bird automaton by Van Cleef & Arpels, which is being shown at Masterpiece London 2022
Rêveries de Berylline automaton by Van Cleef & Arpels

Other pieces encompass more classic jewellery motifs, with a brooch from 1945 demonstrating an elegant restraint. Created when precious stones were limited due to the Second World War, its design in polished and pierced gold takes inspiration from the ripples of lace, the openwork flower motif itself one frequently revisited by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Gold forms the main part of the design in another brooch, from 1989, which draws on the maison’s history of dance, nodding back to the 1940s, when Louis Arpels first looked to the world of ballet for inspiration. A tulle skirt drawn in fine gold mesh is deceptively light, its slender silhouette appearing fluid, caught in mid-twirl and accentuated only with a delicate sprinkling of diamonds on the ballerina’s crown, waist and bouquet.

The pieces form part of a wider collection shown at this year’s Masterpiece London Art Fair, taking place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea until 6 July. §

gold flower brooch