Royal Shopping: Jewels - Van Cleef & Arpels

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend", Marilyn Monroe knew it already in 1953.
However some royal jewelry really has a famous and very nice history on its

In this blog post  about the jewelry Van Cleef & Arpels, I especially mentioned
the former royal family of Iran because their crowns really were fantastic!

Imperial Crown of Farah Pahlavi of Iran
Source picture: Wikipedia

On this picture, you see the Imperial Crown of Farah Pahlavi of Iran. This piece 
of art was made by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1966.

Some history of the company

The jewelry company was founded in 1896 by Alfred van Cleef and 
Salomon Arpels in Paris. 

Later Alfred and two of his brothers-in-law, Charles and Julien, acquired space
for Van Cleef & Arpels at 22, Place Vendôme, just across the Hôtel Ritz, where
the jewelry company opened its first shop. 

Place Vendôme in Paris, France own picture taken in 2017

Van Cleef & Arpels also opened boutiques in holiday resorts such as Deauville,
Vichy, le Touquet, Nice and Monte-Carlo in Monaco. 

Van Cleef & Arpels in Monaco, own picture taken in 2013

In 1925, a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet with red and white roses fashioned
from rubies and diamonds won the grand prize at the International Exposition
of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. 

Van Cleef & Arpels were the first French jewelers to open boutiques in
Japan and China.

In 1999 Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. acquired the firm. 

Famous royal clients

As mentioned before, in 1966 Van Cleef & Arpels was charged with the task
of making the crown of Empress Farah Pahlavi for her upcoming coronation in 
1967. A team was sent to Iran to choose the major gems to use for the crown.
After 11 months of work, the company presented the empress with a crown
made of emerald velvet set with 36 emeralds, 36 rubies, 105 pearls and at 
least 1469 diamonds.

Coronation of Farah Pahlavi
Source picture: Wikipedia

Other famous royal clients were:
- Soraya, queen consort of Iran
- Duchess of Windsor (she had inter alia a bracelet and a necklace)
- Princess Grace of Monaco. 


Nowadays Van Cleef & Arpels have stores in the Middle East and South East
Asia. They have also boutiques located in Geneva, Zurich, Munich, London,
Milan, Shanghai and Paris.

In the United States the jewelry company has standalone boutiques in
New York City, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas. 

In 2016 the brand expanded to Australia, they opened a boutique at
Melbourne and Sydney. 

OTD - 18 September 2009 - Opening of the renewed Liège-Guillemins railway station (Belgium)

18 September 2009  is an important date in history for train lovers as me.
Then the renewed railway station of Liège-Guillemins was officially opened
with a big show by Franco Dragone.

Philippe, then Crown Prince of Belgium and with a beard, attended the opening
ceremony in Liège. Pictures on this link (text in Dutch)

Liège-Guillemins railway station in Belgium
own picture taken in 2018

Liège-Guillemins railway station is the main station of the city of Liège. This is
the third largest city in Belgium. This station is used by 15,000 people every
day, which makes it the eleventh busiest station in Belgium and the third in

Waiting on a train in Liège-Guillemins
own picture taken in 2018

However this futuristic railway station has a real interesting history.

Some history

In 1838, only three years after the first continental railway, a line linking
Brussels and Ans, in the northern suburbs of Liège was opened.  The
first railway station called Liège-Guillemins  (I always have troubles
with the name) was inaugurated in May 1842. In 1843 the first international
railway connection was born, between Liège and Aachen, Cologne in

The new station

At the end of the 20th century, high speed trains were introduced such as
the Thalys. However the platforms were too small and the station had a
shabby appearance, so they had to build a new one.

The new Liège-Guillemins station was designed by architect Santiago
Calatrava. It has 9 tracks and 5 platforms.

Liège-Guillemins is made of steel, glass and white concrete. It includes
a monumental arch of 160 meters long and 32 meters high.

The building costs were 312 milion euros!

Nowadays it still has international destinations such as:

Aachen (Germany);
Lille (France);
Maastricht (The Netherlands);
Cologne (Germany);
Frankfurt (Germany).
There are also plans for Eurostar to link Liège directly to London.

Liège-Guillemins railway station Belgium
own picture in 2018

The Liège-Guillemins railway station is the entrance to the city of Liège.
I visited it in April 2018.

Though the railway station is very futuristic, I really like it.