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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Van Cleef & Arpels Used 8,000 Gems For Its Carpe Koï Watch Bracelet

Van Cleef & Arpels is known for its exceptional artistry, craftsmanship, creative uses of precious materials and storytelling. The Carpe Koï watch bracelet is the latest piece from the Parisian luxury house that displays all of these talents. The one-of-a-kind high jewelry piece was unveiled at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) held January Geneva and I had the opportunity to see it up close.

It is an orange-colored Koi carp in lifelike detail that represents what the brand calls its Mains d’Or (Hands of Gold), the skills of artists who first draw the piece in intricate detail followed by the hand-crafted techniques of its jewelers to create the jewel. This fish has a body made of 8,000 precious gems that took 3,450 hours to create. 

The bracelet combines yellow gold, white gold, diamonds, yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets, black spinels and “Paraíba-like” tourmalines (I’m assuming these are tourmalines (likely from Africa) with the same bluish and greenish color characteristics as the rare Brazilian Paraíba).

The carp has more than the sparkle of thousands of gems. It also has movement. The main feature is the mouth, which opens to reveal a quartz-powered watch dial, made of yellow gold, princess-cut diamonds, spessartite garnets and yellow sapphires. 

The watch bracelet is unfastened by pressing on the carp’s tail.

The Carpe Koï watch bracelet is the brand’s tribute to Japanese culture, as the Koi is “a symbol of love, as it enlivens Zen gardens with its bright colors, contributing serenity and life.” Known for swimming against the current, the brand says the Koi is also “a symbol of strength and courage.”

It appears to be a happy fish and with all of those gems I can see why. 

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