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December 17, 2022
If you love jewelry and are into high end luxury brands, chances are you have either heard of Van Cleef Arpels (VCA) , and are thinking buying from them or have already bought from them and are an avid fan of their beautiful designs.
For a quick read on VCA’s history and popular designs, you can access the following article: Van Cleef and Arpels Price Increase 2021
For this particular piece, I wanted to pen down and share with you a few tips that have helped me curate my modest VCA collection. I am not a collector so my collection is one guided by two key things – wearability and my love for certain lines offered by VCA like Perlee, Alhambra and Frivole.
I hope for anyone dipping their toes in the VCA waters for the first time and wondering how to go about building a small yet well diversified collection that they can enjoy for years to come, you will find this article useful.
Before you start off your collection, finding answers to the following questions would be useful and hopefully enlightening.
Do you like bold or dainty pieces of jewelry or a mix?
As I grow older, I find myself liking bolder pieces but that doesn’t mean I don’t like a sprinkle of dainty pieces in my collection. A well rounded collection in my humble opinion could use a mix of both.
Do you want to add rose, yellow or white gold pieces or a mix of all?
The eternal question! I used to wear white gold pieces, and then moved to yellow gold and rose gold. I love how soft rose gold looks on my skin tone. Go with what you love and if you love all, then build a collection with a mix of ALL three!
Do you want to be conservative with your initial pieces while you test the waters or are you one of those that believe in ‘Go big or Go Home?’
I will be honest. I was super conservative with my initial purchases. My first two pieces were the white mother of pearl (MOP) magic ring and 5 motif bracelet. I was scared of spending thousands of dollars on pure pave pieces without knowing whether I would love what I was buying in the long run. I hadn’t done enough research to spend that kind of money so I was happy to start small before going after the more expensive pieces.
Do you have the lifestyle for wearing the pieces you are considering adding?
Don’t just buy something because you saw it on your favorite celebrity or an insta influencer. Buy it because you know you will do justice to the piece by getting enough usage out of it. If you have the lifestyle for it, go get it. If not, then admire on others and pass.
Do you like trendy pieces or are drawn more to the classic pieces and designs?
I am not into trendy pieces, be it bags, or jewelry. I like my pieces to be classic that will stand the test of time. Maybe I am not cool enough for trendy pieces but I personally rather have something that I can enjoy for years to come. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t admire trendy pieces of jewelry. Bottomline, be true to yourself. Don’t try to fit into a mould that’s not you. If trendy is your jam, go for it.
What attracted you to VCA? Was it:
a) their stone pieces – white mother of pearl (MOP), grey mother of pearl (GMOP), onyx, carnelian, malachite, blue agate etc.
b) their pave pieces,
c) their gold pieces without pave and stones, d)a mix of two or more?
I am in love with VCA’s pave pieces. I won’t lie! There are certain stones that make my heart flutter like malachite, GMOP and white MOP but it’s their pave pieces that make me swoon! As much as I would like to have a balanced collection here, it’s not happening. I am a pave girl all the way with a sprinkling of VCA’s stone pieces!
What type of collection do you envision? Does it have a balanced number of earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets? Or, do you gravitate more towards a specific item?
So many of my friends are not into earrings or necklaces and they would rather build a collection of bracelets or rings. For me it’s challenging because I want it all! So, I try and balance my love for all four by trying (trying being the optimal word) to have an equal amount of each in my collection although right now, bracelets seem to be outweighing others. Reminder to myself: Got to change that!!
Do you like to buy things in sets of two, three, four etc. or stand alone pieces?
I like sets of two. The great thing about VCA’s jewelry is that they all coordinate so well together even if they don’t match exactly. If you like sets like me then you have to figure out – do you want to have matching earrings and necklace, or earrings and ring, or other combinations that work for you?
Sweets, Vintage or the Magic size?
For me it depends. I like pave in vintage size and the stone pieces in magic size. The vintage size I feel is their most popular. But, my heart truly beats for the magic size since it adds such a punch!
Alhambra, Frivole, Lotus, Perlee or something else?
VCA has such gorgeous lines to choose from! My personal favorites are the Perlee and Alhambra lines. That did not stop me from adding pieces from other lines! Every line is a showstopper and a work of art.
There are no right or wrong answers to the above questions, just the ones that ,hopefully, help you understand your own needs and wants. Don’t conform to what you see on social media. Use social media for inspiration and research. You want a collection that reflects YOU!
The below strategy is what’s worked for me. It’s simple and straightforward. And that’s the only way to follow through and make it work! Anything complicated and my eyes glaze over with disinterest.
The good part about the steps outlined below are that they don’t have to apply to just a Van Cleef jewelry collection. They are very generic.
1. Create a wishlist of everything you want, yes everything even if the list is a mile long!
2. Set a budget. There’s a difference between what you want and what you can have. That difference depends on the amount of money you can afford to spend.
3. Write the prices next to each of those pieces. Fun fact. I have an excel spreadsheet with my wishlist. I created different columns for the price, the taxes and then the total (to keep it real). To get creative, you can even insert pictures of each item on a word document.
4. Prioritize each of the items on your wishlist. So, assign them a number from 1-15 in the order of how much you want to add them to your collection. Next, delete everything that was not assigned a number 1 through 15. Yes, seriously DELETE. Anything that adds to more confusion needs to go!
5. Now, it’s time to get serious! That 15 item list needs to be reduced further and the only way to do that is trying them all at your local store. For those who don’t have access to a local store near you, that might be a little more challenging to trim you wishlist items but, it’s not impossible. If you can’t try these pieces yourself, start researching. For me, The Purse Forum has been a wealth of information. A big shout to all the ladies and gents on it who contribute to the different threads. I love the camaraderie there and the willingness to help a newbie. Another great source of information can be the people you follow on Instagram. Sift through the gazillion pictures available there by searching for what you are looking for. Bottom line? Research research and research. For the insane amount you are going to spend on one item, you need 100% peace of mind that you made the right decision.
6. Have a final wishlist of 5-6 pieces. You will be surprised how many of of those 15 items will fall off your wishlist as you try them innumerable times at the store or look at pictures and mod shots of those who have tried them or own those pieces. I constantly prioritize/re-prioritize my wishlist and try to reduce and keep the number to 5-6. Then next to each, write the year you anticipate getting them. It’s good to have goals after all! I even have pieces on my wishlist that have the anticipated year to get as 2023!
7. Trim your wishlist from time to time. Ruthlessly! There are days when I feel my wishlist is exploding with random new pieces that were not even part of the 15 list item! That’s the time to get realistic and rethink. If you love something that was not on your original wishlist and feel very strongly about, then you have to let something else from your 5-6 items to make room. You can’t just add without deleting. Period.
8. Key is to stay true to your wishlist. Try not to go rogue but if you do, it’s not the end of the world either so don’t let that one detour deter you from following your list in the future! You can take the help of your girlfriends to help you stick to your wishlist. I know I do.
9. It’s okay to get cold feet as it comes closer to you spending your hard earned money but that will ensure there’s no buyer’s remorse after the purchase. I get that cold feet every single time before I am ready to make the final purchase. I start second guessing my choice and then I (and my close girlfriends) have to remind myself of the entire thought process I went through to make my final decision. Good news is once I buy, there is zero remorse, only delight and happiness, well, 99% of the time at least!
10. Take your time with your purchases. A close friend once reminded me ‘it’s not a race, it’s a marathon’. Wise words! Don’t buy until you are 100% convinced that’s the one piece you cannot live without! I bought bags fast and furious when I was building my bag collection! But, with jewelry, slow and steady wins the race. After all, a major part of the fun is planning and trying! Oh, and once you are sure of what you want, go after it with a vengeance! I am like a dog with a bone. If I know I want a certain piece, there’s no stopping me!