Peau d’Âne: Van Cleef & Arpels’ New Bejewelled Fairy Tale


One of the most popular French fairy tales, Peau d’Âne was first published by Charles Perrault in 1694. This is a dark tale of a young princess who has to fight off the advances of her father by asking him for the most extravagant dresses (the color of the weather, the color of the moon, and the color of the sun) before finally fleeing to the forest, by hiding under a donkey skin, where she will meet her prince charming, reunited thanks to a ring in a cake. The story was brought to life by French film director Jacques Demy in 1970 with Catherine Deneuve playing the princess and Jean Marais, her father. Now Van Cleef & Arpels, well known for its bejeweled feminine figures, has created a version of the fairytale for the Biennale des Antiquaires: “Peau d’Âne raconté par Van Cleef & Arpels.”


The unique pieces will delight collectors as they capture every element of the magical story, from the king’s enchanting castle (now a clip with a spellbinding Brazilian emerald weighing over 39 carats) to the princess’s shimmering gowns using a mix of turquoise, green garnets, and tourmalines for the color of the sky, sapphires and blue and mauve tanzanite to conjure up the moon and yellow tourmalines and sapphires for the brilliant sun.

The princess’ godmother, the Lilac Fairy (now a brooch with gray diamonds, pink and purple spinels, and pink and purple sapphires) and her wand (pink, purple, and blue sapphires, onyx, one oval-cut purple sapphire of 3.64 carats and of course diamonds) are joined by the gâteau d’amour ring topped with emerald of 4.48 carats in reference to a key episode in the Peau d’Âne tale where the prince catches sight of the young girl in the forest and seeing her drop her ring in the cake mix which ultimately helps the prince find her..

There is also a Miroir enchanté necklace and detachable clip using amongst other gems, emerald beads for a total of 381.04 carats and an octagonal-cut sapphire of 24.77 carats from Burma. Like many of the high jewelry pieces offered at the Biennale this year, the jewel is transformable, allowing its owner to wear it in different ways. For example, the centerpiece to that Miroir enchanté necklace is a detachable motif that can also be worn as a clip.

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