Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibition, ArtScience Museum


Perhaps, instead of calling it a birthday trip to Singapore, I should really call it a birthday trip to Marina Bay Sands.

For most of the four days I spent in Singapore this year, I was in the Marina Bay Sands area. I visited yet another attraction at Marina Bay Sands on my last day in Singapore before flying back home - the ArtScience Museum.

I waited at the doors of the museum by myself at 9.45AM on a Sunday morning. The museum stated it would open at 10AM, and I was third in line outside the door. There were plenty of families sitting around outside waiting for the museum to open too.

It was sweltering, and toting a luggage bag, I thought I would melt into a puddle of my own heat. My makeup certainly protested by running down my face, which was fast becoming an oil slick.

I stared pleadingly into the building, but the ticket-sellers ignored my gaze. My one small consolation was that the museum offered FREE WI-FI, which I could get even by standing outside the door.

As soon as they unlocked the door, I burst in and asked for double tickets to both exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum. One was the Future World exhibition, and the other, the titular exhibition: Van Cleef & Arpels.

With the tickets being timed tickets, the ticket-seller advised me to go to the Future World exhibition first, before going to the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition later. She eyed the surrounding families with their tiny toddlers and children knowingly.

"The Future World exhibition will only get more crowded later on." She murmured as her gaze flickered back towards me.

I took her advice.

They also had a luggage-holding area (actually, pretty much just a chucking area behind the ticketing counters, so let the museum hold onto your luggage at your own risk), so I left my luggage behind and started exploring the exhibitions.

I have nothing much to say about the Future World exhibition - it was certainly a pretty exhibition, but it felt too small and just about barely tolerable with the crowds of families and young children that came in shrieking and running around. My favourite room was the last room, and when I left that room, my first thought was literally: "Wait, that's it?"

I liked the Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibition a lot better compared to the Future World exhibition, mostly because there were less people visiting it. I could linger over the exhibits, admire the jewellery, read the descriptions, and just generally spend more time taking it all in in gorgeous, lovely silence.

The first room I ventured into had these transparent posts, each with Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery in the center of the posts. The jewellery pieces sparkled even more underneath the orange spotlights. It was truly bling bling central.

Look at all that shiny gold bling! #nofilter

I love to look at jewellery pieces like this, as I consider them works of art. Plus I am like a raven - I like looking at shiny things. I am not fond of wearing heavy bling, but to look at? They are positively pleasing to the eye.

I must say I would be terrified to wear them in a place like Malaysia too, where snatch thefts are common, and human life is secondary to the thieves who are already dreaming of what the expensive-looking jewellery will fetch them.

The exhibition claims that the zip necklace/ jewellery was invented by Van Cleef & Arpels. According to this New York Times article, it took more than ten years for artisans to perfect a fully functioning zipper coated in precious gems.

It certainly looks eye-catching, but the plebeian side of me cannot help but whisper that zippers seem more suited to clothing items like jeans, pants, and hoodies. To see it on such a glamourous-looking bracelet/ necklace convertible jewellery is a bit jarring.

Yes, yes, I am a plebeian peasant.

The exhibition also showed gems in their fairly natural state, as well as their jewellery "themes" throughout the years, from the mythical to the Oriental.

I find it slightly humourous that the largest ever crystal found in the Alps was named after General Napoleon Bonaparte, who was given the nickname "le petit caporal".

Some of my favorite pieces in the exhibition were the ones that took its inspiration from myths around the world, such as the ones with griffins. The ones that took their inspiration from China were also lovely - I liked the scent bottle, carved with the image of a bird.

As expected, the pieces looked almost new in their exhibit cases, though they were made many years ago.

There was a noticeable security presence in each room as they watched us museum visitors look at each exhibit. I would be terrified if I were the museum curator, should one piecec get stolen, be lost, or irrevocably damaged. Some of the pieces were slightly more than a hundred years old, with the company founded in 1896.

I found my favourite semi-precious gemstone, by the way.

It is the obvious crystallisation aspect of tourmaline that I enjoy looking at, as though there is something else hidden deep within the layers of patterns, something not visible to the naked eye.

Also, the description uses both the words "crystallization" and "crystallisation". They should really make up their minds if they want to use American English or British English.

So pearly.

I... do not particularly enjoy jewellery that looks like this. They may be made of expensive materials, but the design does not appeal to me in the slightest. Some designs and materials do not seem to mix well, such as a gold pair of Hello Kitty earrings.

Is it snobbish to feel like precious materials deserve prettier designs?

This is truly beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I do like the little Scottish Terrier one in the above picture, I just think that gold seems wasted on it.

Then there's my favourite piece out of all my favourite pieces in the Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibition.


Perhaps to some, THIS is the tacky/ cheap-looking design.

Oh well.

I can totally see myself wearing this with a little black dress.

There were also Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery pieces on loan from royalty, nobility, and celebrity for the exhibitions. Probably the closest I will ever get to some of the people mentioned, really.

"Look! I am a feet away from a jewellery piece that adorned the neck of the Duchess of some place or another!"


All in all, I would not say it was educating for me. It CAN be educating, but I am afraid all the words I read about gems and semi-precious stones and the history of the jewellery pieces have faded by now. What I do remember is that I got a precious, quiet one hour or so in a museum, looking at some of my favourite things in the world.

Jewellery lovers, or even those with a passing interest in jewellery, should enjoy this exhibition. I believe it ends sometime in August, so get yourself there while you can.

And with that, Singapore marked the start of yet another of my 2x years, complete with my hopes and dreams for the year.

May my dreams continue to shine brightly as I work my way towards making them come true.

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