Miniature feather art and hard stone marquetry
For these new Extraordinary Dials watches, Van Cleef & Arpels has instigated a partnership with Nelly Saunier, the feather artist. Thanks to the delicate techniques of miniature feather art, Enchanting Nature takes on three dimensions to endow the birds with shimmering natural plumage.
This craft skill calls for a degree of precision that runs to the tenth of a millimeter. The feather artist works like a painter, choosing her pigments and raw materials. Each feather is selected for its specific color and texture. The barbs and barbules are removed from the feathers and carefully prepared to correspond to the original drawing. They are then combined, shaped and positioned to match the form of the bird. When placed against the scenery, they accentuate its three-dimensional character. Van Cleef & Arpels has combined the organic with the mineral by also employing hard stone marquetry. In the background, jade, turquoise or lapis lazuli compose subtle landscapes that frame the outlines of the birds.
Lady Arpels Cardinal Carmin
A cardinal with feathers of crimson – the color of love – soars above mountains and valleys fashioned from different stones: jade, variscite and blood jasper. A symbol of pure sentiments, the bird heralds a tender encounter against a blue sky of larimar. In the hollow of the valley, a diamond-set river flows peacefully like a source of life. The bird engraved on the back of the case flies over a haven of greenery.
Lady Arpels Colibri Indigo
Evocative of a positive approach to life, a hummingbird in shades of indigo hovers over a flower of diamonds and hard stone marquetry composed of lavender jade, lepidolite and variscite. Gracefully, it seems to caress it with a beat of its wings: flora and fauna combine within a single tableau. The scene continues on the back of the case, where the engraved bird joyfully gathers nectar from the surrounding flowers.
Lady Arpels Martin-Pêcheur Azur
A kingfisher – symbol of happiness and fidelity in love – flies over a sea with shades of turquoise and lapis lazuli. Its luminous plumage accentuates the depth and vividness of this composition of flat stones. Lines of diamonds outline the foaming waves and highlight the movement of the scene. The bird’s flight comes to an end on the back of the timepiece, where it appears on a rock facing the sea.