The Van Cleef & Arpels Legend of Diamonds High Jewelry collection started in 2018 with the discovery of a rough diamond of unusual weight and brilliance: the Lesotho Legend, the fifth largest rough diamond in both size and optical clarity ever mined. By encountering an exceptional rough diamond, the Lesotho Legend, the Maison had the idea to create 25 unique pieces, all of them adorned with diamonds cut from the same rough stone.
“This is the first time in decades that we have been involved in a project from its starting point—the extraction of the stone—to the creation of a high jewelry collection,” the brand’s president and CEO, Nicolas Bos, said in a statement. “The appearance of this extraordinary rough stone gave us this unique opportunity to tell a story around the diamond.” Almost four years after the discovery of the Lesotho, it is now distributed among “Legend of Diamonds.”
The 107-piece collection is divided into two groups, the more colorful “25 Mystery Set Jewels” and the understatedly chic “White Diamond Variations.” But the Lesotho wasn’t the only inspiration; Van Cleef & Arpels plumbed its own storied archives for fitting homages to honor the historic gem. Echoes of some of the jeweler’s “greatest hits” appear in the collection, as in a nod to the stunning diamond necklace created for the marriage of Princess Fawzieh of Egypt in 1939, as well as in riffs on Chrysler Building-inspired Art Deco earrings, for which the artisans in the Place Vendôme workshop wielded the house’s signature “Mystery Set.” Patented in 1933, the complex technique allows gems to be fixed with no visible metal prongs.