A trip to the discovery of jewelery manufacturing. Founded in Paris in 1896, Van Cleef & Arpels is perhaps the most renowned maison of fine jewelery in the world. The book reveals for the first time the secrets of the Mains d'Or that make every piece by Van Cleef & Arpels a unique jewel. The human hand takes pride in its work, and with this book, Van Cleef & Arpels wish to pay homage to all those skilled and knowledgeable hands whose humility and selflessness make it possible for jewelery to exist. It is a life force, transmitted by jewelers, setters, polishers, and all those who are daily confronted by age-old and precious materials: shaping, transforming, and exalting them without ever betraying the reverence that a masterpiece should inspire.
Franco Cologni is the founder and editor in chief of Cartier Art magazine. In 1980, he was appointed chief executive of Cartier International, and in 1986, he became vice chairman, then chairman. In 2000, when Cartier became part of the Richemont Group, he was appointed senior executive director with special responsibility for the jewelery and fine watch sectors of the group. Patrick Gries (Luxembourg) started working in New York in 1984. In 1992, he moved to Paris where he gained an outstanding reputation as a fashion, design, and contemporary art photographer. Francesco Cito (Naples) lives and works in Milan. He began his career in 1972 in London, and in 1975, became a freelancer. In 1995 and 1996, he won the first prize in the World Press Photo contest.