Van Cleef & Arpels (French, est. 1906) is a luxury French jewelry, watch, and perfume company. It was founded by Salomon Arpels and his son-in-law Alfred Van Cleef. After Salomon’s death, Alfred and his two brothers-in-law, Charles and Julien, opened their first shop in the prestigious Place Vendôme in 1906, and were soon joined by a third brother, Louis. The company quickly gained a reputation for its use of precious stones and innovative stone-setting techniques.
Van Cleef & Arpels expanded to multiple boutiques between 1909 and 1939. In 1933, the house patented the Mystery Set technique, in which the prongs securing the stone in place are invisible. The technique requires more than 300 hours of work per piece, and only a few are produced every year. In 1942, the Arpels family immigrated to the United States and opened their first American boutique in New York. The company eventually expanded into Asia, and remained under the operation and management of the family until 1999, when it was bought by Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A.
> The company was featured in a 1992 exhibition in Paris at the Musée de la mode et du Costume. Today, the brand lends its jewelry to some of the most important celebrities and fashion designers in the world, including Gareth Pugh, <a href="artists/karl-lagerfeld/">Karl Lagerfeld, and Gaspard Yurkievich.