The story goes that New York City Ballet co-founder George Balanchine, while walking down NYC's Fifth Avenue in the 1960s, was so dazzled by a creation from Parisian husband & wife Van Cleef & Arpels' sparkling window display that it inspired him to create his 1967 triptych ballet, Jewels.
Showing Balachine some reciprocal love, on the 40th anniversary of Jewels, Van Cleef & Arpels launched a collection of 80 pieces called Ballet Précieux to honor the Russian choreographer's ballet.
Balanchine's Jewels has been shining at Teatro alla Scala this month with guest artists Leonid Sarafanov, Alina Somova, Polina Semionova, Guillaume Côté dancing the three scenes of Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds to the music of Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky (thanks to the story from the May 12 issue of Corriere della Sera's Sette for reminding us).
If you're in NYC, the Cooper Hewitt is currently showing 250 pieces from the vaults and archives of Parisian jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels in an exhibition called "Set in Style", which closes on July 4, and includes some of the pieces from Ballet Précieux.
(Emeralds! Garritano and Sutera. Credit Brescia-Amisano Teatro alla Scala)
Above, Van Cleef & Arpels pin.
(Rubies! Marta Romagna. Credit Brescia-Amisano Teatro alla Scala)
(Diamonds! Somova and Coté. Credit Brescia-Amisano Teatro alla Scala)