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Magic Alhambra Necklace
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Magic Alhambra Necklace

About the Design

“To be lucky,” the French jeweler Jacques Arpels (1914–2008) once said, “you have to believe in luck.” Arpels, nephew of Van Cleef & Arpels cofounder Estelle Arpels, certainly did — and nowhere is this more evident than in the Magic Alhambra necklaces, as well as in the rest of the jewelry house’s Alhambra collection, the design of which references a certain lucky charm.


A young Jacques was reportedly fascinated with searching for four-leaf clovers — a plant synonymous with good fortune — in the yard of his childhood home. His affinity for four-leaf clovers informed some of his most celebrated work at the jewelry house, which he joined in 1932. By the 1950s, Van Cleef & Arpels sought to create more everyday jewelry. Enter Jacques’s simple quatrefoil design, inspired in part by his childhood expeditions as well as the keyhole arches common in the Moorish architecture of Spain and Northern Africa. The Alhambra motif, first launched as a long necklace in 1968, is said to be named for the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, where these archways abound. A Magic Alhambra necklace that debuted in 2006 featured six motifs of different sizes. The piece, which joined some dozens of necklaces created for the series over the years, is an artful take on Van Cleef’s most recognizable design, and its asymmetrical pattern gives the impression of the quatrefoils dancing across its wearer’s décolletage.


Early Alhambra pieces caught the attention of celebrities like Grace Kelly, and its popularity endures today, with Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing earrings and a necklace from the collection to 2020’s BAFTA awards ceremony. As a result of ever-broadening enthusiasm for the line, Van Cleef & Arpels devised new riffs on the quatrefoil design in the decades since its launch. 


Like many pieces created by the artisans at Van Cleef & Arpels (after all, this is the jewelry house that invented the painstaking mystery setting), the Alhambra collection owes to a mix of artistry and stunning precision. Each quatrefoil is carefully shaped and hand-set with a stone and then attached to a chain. Certain Alhambra styles — such as lapis lazuli or mother-of-pearl — require the jeweler to cut quatrefoil pieces to fit exactly into their frames, which are then secured with barely visible prongs. The result is, well, magic.


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Van Cleef & Arpels 'Magic Alhambra' Yellow Gold and Malachite 16-Motif Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in New York, NY
Authentic Van Cleef & Arpels 'Magic Alhambra' necklace crafted in 18 karat yellow gold featuring 16 clover leaf inspired motifs of malachite stones. Signed VCA, Au750, with hallmarks...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary More Necklaces

Materials

Malachite, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels White Gold Alhambra Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in London, GB
A stunning 18k white gold necklace from the Alhambra collection by Van Cleef & Arpels. The necklace is made up of 9 four leaf clover motifs with a polished white gold boarder and cen...
Category

Antique 15th Century and Earlier Link Necklaces

Materials

18k Gold, White Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels 18 Karat Yellow Gold Magic Alhambra 6 Motif Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in New York, NY
Magic Alhambra necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. Multi-size mixed drops. Black onyx with white and gray mother-of-pearl. Created in 2006 by Van Cleef & Arpels, the Magic Alhambra jewel...
Category

2010s Modern Drop Necklaces

Materials

Onyx, Pearl, 18k Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra Long Necklace, 16 Motifs
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Bethesda, MD
From Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra collection; A gathering of 16 different-sized Alhambra motifs, coming together in a joyful dance. Inspired by the clover leaf, their asymmetri...
Category

2010s Chain Necklaces

Materials

18k Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Necklace Alhambra Collection 18 Karat Gold Bois D'Amourette
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Miami, FL
Guaranteed authentic extremely are and highly collectible Alhambra Collection necklace features 18K Rose Gold and Bois d'Amourette (letterwood). Vintage and aged to perfection this s...
Category

2010s Choker Necklaces

Materials

18k Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Magic White and Grey Mother of Pearl White Gold Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Holland, PA
18k White Gold Magic White And Grey Mother Of Pearl Alhambra Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. With 3 x 21mm white & grey mother of pearl alhambra stones 4 x 15mm white & grey mother o...
Category

20th Century Link Necklaces

Materials

Pearl, 18k Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra Mother of Pearl Onyx Gold 16 Motif Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Boca Raton, FL
Impressive 18k yellow gold long necklace, crafted by Van Cleef & Arpels, set with 16 clover motifs in black and white mother of pearl, onyx. Comes with COA and a pouch. Retail $22400...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary More Necklaces

Materials

Onyx, 18k Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra Long Necklace
By Van Cleef & Arpels
Located in Dallas, TX
Van Cleef & Arpels Magic Alhambra Long Necklace - White Gold necklace with Van Cleef & Arpels clover motif in White & gray Mother of Pearl and Chalcedony. Chain length 48 inches. Ca...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Multi-Strand Necklaces

Materials

Chalcedony