Monday, June 1, 2015

On My Mind: Maria Callas’s Van Cleef & Arpels Brooch and American Pharoah

A 1967 Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond clip once owned by Maria Callas. Photo by Van Cleef & Arpels.

This roundup of “On My Mind” has just two things I will be thinking about a lot this week—Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry and the Belmont Stakes!

Maria Callas’s Van Cleef & Arpels Brooch

Maria Callas wearing the brooch at her shoulder in Paris, December, 1973. Photo by RDA/Getty Images.

With the L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels starting soon at the Cooper-Hewitt, I have been going through all the pictures I took from the exhibit Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels in 2011, as well as the book of the same name. I came across the photo below that I took of a glorious 1967 ruby and diamond brooch once owned by opera singer Maria Callas. What do we think, was it a gift from her lover Aristotle Onassis? My money is on yes but I am not clear on this issue so if you have any information about its provenance, do share! It is now part of the Van Cleef & Arpels archives and is stunning in person, as you can see from the photos. I love the picture above, showing Maria wearing this amazing piece at her shoulder! Does it get any better than wearing rubies and diamonds on your shoulder?

The brooch on view at the exhibit Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, 2011.

Look at the color of those rubies! Let the weeping commence!

Will American Pharoah win the Triple Crown?

A detailed shot showing the name plate of American Pharoah, misspelling intact. Photo by Patrick Smith.

I’ve become more interested in watching Triple Crown races in the last year. After the disappointment of hoping California Chrome would win the Belmont Stakes last June, only to have him fall short of goal, I can’t help but think that maybe 2015’s Triple Crown contender, American Pharoah, won’t be able to pull it off either because of trainers that have their horses sit out the Preakness, and sometimes the Kentucky Derby too, then enter them in Belmont to act as a spoiler to the favorite, which they are often successful at. Because I expect this exact scenario to play out it will make it all the sweeter if American Pharoah can pull off the win at Belmont and become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978.

American Pharoah winning the Kentucky Derby, May 2, 2015. Photo by Morry Gash/AP.

There is an interesting article over at The New York Times about who named this beautiful horse (it wasn’t the owner) and how the word “pharaoh” was misspelled during registration. The name stands as it was entered into the system, no matter how it happened, and will now be retired in any spelling variant in order to not confuse bettors. Huh!

Let me know what you think of Maria’s VCA brooch and if you are watching (and betting on!) the Belmont Stakes! I suppose if you bet in just the right way you could head to VCA after the race and buy yourself a fantastic brooch with your winnings!


GSL said...

Jill, I'll bet you've never been a cheap date! Yes the piece on the divine Maria Callas is spectacular.
Count me as 1 hoping American Pharoah doesn't win as I want the horse that breaks the long triple crown drought to be owned by an American.

Jill said...

Oh GSL, always provocative! Re cheap date: I do believe there was a time in my life, when I was much younger, when it did not cost very much money, if any at all, to entertain me. My tastes have changed over the years. Ha!

As for American Pharoah and his owners, I figured that plenty of these horse owners are not American and I haven't given it too much thought since I know it must take so very much money indeed to be involved in the world of horse racing. People for whom a VCA brooch would be a drop in the bucket! I would love to see a Triple Crown winner this weekend, but I won't be surprised if a horse like Carpe Diem or Materiality wins at Belmont! Will think of you this weekend when I'm watching! xx

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Let me be clear and say that Van Cleef is my favorite jewellers ever so of course I love it but then again I love it even more on the shoulder!! I need to do that. But I need a proper blouse first. I am trying to repurpose my jewellry funny enough because they need to be used right? The news here is not talking about this american pharoah thing...So I got nothing on that one! xx

Jill said...

Oh Naomi, I wish you were here so we could hit up VCA together. There are several things I want to visit with to determine whether they are Wish-List Worthy! Maria's brooch reminds me that I need to get all my brooches out and start wearing them, pronto! xx