The world is busy “going green” in so many varying capacities, however the nomenclature takes on a completely different riff with this latest exhibition from Van Cleef & Arpels at Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History. Dubbed “Garden of Green”, the exhibition takes visitors through a rich history of high jewelry and gemsetting by the famed French jewelry house, with pieces on display that date back to the 1920s.
As is often the case with present-day exhibitions, this is not merely a set of display cases scattered throughout an empty room. As you venture through the Garden of Green, the scene is set for visitors to take a walk through a forest of tree shades and green hues, discovering earth’s treasures turned into jewelry.
Though emeralds are an obvious jumping-off point in the world of green gems, there are plenty of other stones in the 44-piece exhibition. Fresh green jadeite jade, dark green malachite, and green chalcedony also make appearances along the way. As one would expect, the series of showcases take viewers through a journey — first, an exploration of the use of multiple types of green gemstones in a single piece of jewelry, followed by an exceptional collection that focuses on a single material per piece, allowing to thoroughly express the specific character of the stone in question.
No exhibition would be complete without a hero piece, so to speak, thus the final showcase is reserved specifically for the emeralds. Of the various highlights — aside from more typical high jewelry creations like the Cydonia necklace and earring set, the pair of which boast a staggering 951 emeralds — an impressive Plane Tree Leaf Clip from 1951 caught our eye, set in platinum and yellow gold, covered with stunning mystery set emeralds, and surrounded by diamond trimming.
The Garden of Green exhibition is currently underway at the American Museum of Natural History, running until January 2024.