When it comes to luxury jewellery, the renowned French jeweller is extremely well-known and has had a huge following of jewellery lovers and collectors from around the world for over a century. But why is Van Cleef so expensive? Let's discover the elements that contribute to the high price tag, including the craftsmanship, design innovation, historical significance, and celebrity endorsements that set this brand apart.

The Legacy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels, Van Cleef & Arpels quickly established itself as a leading supplier in the jewellery industry demonstrating elegance and sophistication. The brand was originally created after the daughter of Estelle Arpels who was a precious stones dealer and the son of Alfred Van Cleef who was a lapidarist got married in 1895. After their children’s marriage, Alfred van Cleef and Estelle Arpels shared their enthusiasm for the jewellery industry and together created Van Cleef & Arpels. From the beginning, the brand has been synonymous with exceptional quality and unique designs, traits that have only become more pronounced over time. 

Exceptional Craftsmanship

One of the primary reasons Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery commands such high prices is the unparalleled craftsmanship that goes into each piece. The brand's artisans are among the most skilled in the world, dedicating countless hours to perfecting their craft. Each item is carefully handcrafted, often involving intricate techniques that require years of training and experience. For example, the ‘Mystery Set’ technique, patented by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1933, involves setting gemstones in such a way that no prongs are visible. This technique is incredibly time-consuming and requires an extraordinary level of precision, contributing to the exclusivity and high cost of these pieces. 

van cleef shop and workshop
Van Cleef Store & Jewellery Workshop

Innovative Designs

Van Cleef & Arpels is renowned for its innovative and imaginative designs, which often draw inspiration from nature, mythology, and fairy tales. The brand's designers continually push the boundaries of creativity, resulting in jewellery that is not only beautiful but also unique. This commitment to innovation ensures that each piece is a work of art, further justifying the high price. For instance, the Alhambra collection, introduced in 1968, features a four-leaf clover motif that has become iconic. This design, inspired by the Moorish quatrefoil, is both elegant and timeless, making it a favourite among collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike. The enduring popularity of such designs ensures their value remains high.

The Value of Materials - Is Van Cleef real gold?

Another significant factor contributing to the high cost of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery is the quality of the materials used. Is Van Cleef real gold? The brand is known for its rigorous selection process, ensuring that only the finest gemstones and precious metals are used in their creations. Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are strictly chosen for their colour, clarity, and brilliance, while gold and platinum are used to create the settings. This commitment to using only the highest quality materials means that Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery not only looks stunning but also retains its value over time. In many cases, these pieces appreciate in value, making them a worthwhile investment for collectors.

Van Cleef and Arpels Cost - How Much is a Van Cleef Bracelet?

If you're considering adding a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet to your collection, you may be wondering ‘How much is a Van Cleef bracelet?’. The price of a Van Cleef bracelet can vary widely depending on the design, materials, and rarity of the piece. A classic Alhambra bracelet, featuring the signature four-leaf clover motif in gold and mother-of-pearl, can start at around £1,500. However, more elaborate designs, such as those featuring diamonds or rare gemstones, can easily reach six figures. Limited edition or vintage pieces can command even higher prices, reflecting their exclusivity and historical significance. Due to the high value and demand for these pieces, it's important to be cautious of fake Van Cleef jewellery in the market. A Van Cleef replica could appear identical to real Van Cleef jewellery so it is important to buy from trusted retailers and ensure it has the correct documentation. 

vintage van cleef bracelet and packaging

Vintage Van Cleef Alhambra Bracelet & packaging

The Desire of Vintage Van Cleef

Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels pieces hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts. These pieces, often created during the brand's early years, offer a glimpse into the rich history and evolution of Van Cleef jewellery designs. One reason vintage Van Cleef jewellery is so highly prized is its rarity. Many of these pieces were produced in limited quantities, making it difficult to find second-hand van Cleef Jewellery. Additionally, the craftsmanship and materials used in these early pieces are often of exceptional quality, ensuring their lasting beauty and value. A vintage Van Cleef & Arpels brooch from the 1920s, featuring intricate platinum and diamond work, can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Collectors are willing to pay a premium for these rare and historically significant pieces, driving prices even higher.

The Role of Brand Prestige

The prestige of the Van Cleef & Arpels name cannot be underestimated when considering the high cost of their jewellery. The brand's long history, association with royalty and celebrities, and reputation for exceptional quality all contribute to its high price. Owning a piece of Van Cleef jewellery is not just about possessing a beautiful object; it's about being part of a legacy of elegance and sophistication. This sense of prestige is carefully cultivated by the brand through its marketing, exclusive boutiques, and commitment to excellence. Van Cleef & Arpels does not mass-produce its jewellery; instead, each piece is created with care and attention to detail, ensuring that it meets the highest standards.

Celebrity Wearing Van Cleef -  Who Wears Van Cleef?

Van Cleef & Arpels has long been a favourite among celebrities, further cementing its status as a luxury brand. Over the years, numerous celebrities and Royal Family members have been spotted wearing Van Cleef jewellery on red carpets, at high-profile events, and in their personal lives. One of the most notable celebrity endorsements came from Grace Kelly, who famously wore a Van Cleef & Arpels tiara on her wedding day to Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. This not only elevated the brand's profile but also solidified its association with royalty and elegance. In more recent years, stars like Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Molly Mae, Perrie Edwards, and Kate Middleton have all been seen wearing Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery. These high-profile celebrities relationships with the brand, including Kate Middleton, contribute to its desirability, driving demand and prices even higher.

Van Cleef Bracelets
Van Cleef Bracelet Worn By Molly Mae (left) & Van Cleef Bracelet Worn By Perrie Edwards (right)

Investing in Second-hand Van Cleef & Arpels

For many collectors and enthusiasts, purchasing Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery is seen as an investment. Given the brand's enduring popularity and the quality of its creations, these pieces often retain or even increase in value over time. The limited availability of certain designs, combined with the brand's prestige, means that demand often exceeds supply. This scarcity drives prices higher, particularly for vintage and limited-edition pieces. As a result, Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery is not only a beautiful accessory but also a valuable asset that can appreciate in value. Used Van Cleef jewellery offers many benefits for investors. There is no initial depreciation when buying pre-owned Van Cleef that you see with new jewellery. This allows a greater profit in the future. Discover how to sell your Van Cleef jewellery. If you're interested in investing in luxury jewellery and watches, read our related article is a Cartier watch a good investment

The Experience of Owning Van Cleef & Arpels - Van Cleef And Arpels UK

Finally, it's worth considering the overall experience of owning a piece of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery. From the moment you enter one of their luxurious boutiques or when you first wear your new piece, everything feels luxurious and is designed to make you feel special. By purchasing pre-owned Van Cleef jewellery you can understand the exceptional feeling of wearing a piece made from the luxurious brand with a more affordable price tag. When you buy second-hand van Cleef jewellery with us, you could receive up to 50% off the brand-new retail price of the piece allowing you to save money and still receive a beautiful piece of jewellery. If you’re looking for a particular piece of Van Cleef jewellery that we don’t currently have, get in touch to register your interest. 

Sell your Van Cleef Jewellery >>

View our pre-loved range

Shop pre-loved jewellery by Bvlgari, Cartier, Tiffany, Boodles, De Beers and more

Wanting to part exchange or sell?

If you have luxury watches or jewellery pieces you are interested in part exchanging for this or other items please get in touch for a valuation.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If there is a specific watch model or jewellery piece you are looking for, then please get in touch to register your interest and be the first to see what's new.