Louis Arpels’ passion for ballet and opera provided inspiration for the first ballerina clips in 1941 in New York, and then in Paris the following year. This theme can be seen in a stunning variety of jewelry and precious objects ranging from cuff links and blouse buttons to bracelets, not to mention precious cases, earrings and necklaces.
Always depicted by a rose-cut diamond, the ballerina’s face illuminates her silhouette, adorned with meticulously rendered attire in gold tulle or pavé-set with precious stones. Inspired by costumes from various countries, this finery lends each clip its distinct personality.
Designers also pay close attention to the choice of poses. Indeed, the Maison’s archives are replete with true-to-life sketches of dancers, clearly demonstrating the importance attached to capturing movement.
The 1945 clip portrays a Spanish bailaora embellished with a headdress of rubies and holding a fan in her hand. The color of her skirt, made up of rubies and sapphires, sets off the yellow gold of her bust. These styles come together as an alternative to the classic image of the Prima Ballerina.
Drawing featuring a Ballerina clip, 1945
Van Cleef & Arpels Archives