Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The amazing and luxurious jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels is showcased beautifully; there is a free audio/visual tour that you can get on a borrowed iPAD (just bring your drivers license as collateral) that provides great insight into the exhibit. The exhibit takes into account the architecture of the mansion's long halls, sun room, and various room sizes to feature the jewelry to their best advantage. For example, the sun room has a giant cloche filled with enameled and diamond encrusted butterflies and the collections from famous personalities like Marlene Dietrich, the Duchess of Marlborough (nee Consuelo Vanderbilt), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Elizabeth Taylor are displayed together down one hall.
The other part of the museum that is definitely worth visiting is the gift shop. It has the requisite museum shop books and t-shirts, but it is also filled with original pieces of pottery, jewelry, housewares, bags, and sculpture. All the items for sale seem to be "curated" and include both modern and vintage styles; many of them would make extraordinary gifts.