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A Necklace That Bears An Ancient Symbol Of Luck

By Renée Batchelor

Vintage Alhambra long necklace 20 motifs in yellow gold and blue agate, $25,300, and the Magic Alhambra long necklace 1 motif in guilloché yellow gold, $10,900.
 
Photograph by Katherine Ang, Styled by Michelle Kok
Vintage Alhambra long necklace 20 motifs in yellow gold and blue agate, $25,300, and the Magic Alhambra long necklace 1 motif in guilloché yellow gold, $10,900.

The four-leaf clover may have started out as an Irish symbol of luck, but in the late 19th and early 20th century, it was not uncommon for French women to wear this lucky symbol as a jewellery charm, often accompanied with the words “porte bonheur”, which translates to “bringing happiness.” It is unsurprising therefore that the four-leaf clover was first discovered in the archives of French jewellery house Van Cleef and Arpels as far back as the 1920s. It has embellished selected pieces over the years, alongside other symbols of good fortune like wooden talismans, charms and fairies. But it wasn’t until 1968 that it appeared in its current incarnation, the Alhambra.

With its pure lines and beaded silhouette, the Alhambra quickly become a signature of the house and a contemporary symbol of luck, seen on everyone from Françoise Hardy to the late Princess Grace of Monaco. Today it continues to be reinvented even as its original form is respected. In pure gold, as pictured on the new Magic Alhambra long necklace in guilloché yellow gold, the subtle striation and sun-shaped patterns take centre stage, showing off the craftsmanship of the piece and giving the impression of an intense circulation of light. From the coloured versions of the necklace with 20 clovers, blue agate was chosen for its deep and even shade that pairs beautifully with a yellow gold setting.