A Van Cleef & Arpels coin from the Paris Mint


FINE COIN: Van Cleef & Arpels and the Monnaie de Paris have teamed up to produce six limited-edition coins and a medal celebrating the jeweler’s know-how.

The creations, including a one-kilo (35.3-ounce) pure gold coin encrusted with a diamond-studded butterfly, were unveiled at a lunch on Tuesday at the Restaurant Guy Savoy La Monnaie de Paris hosted by Van Cleef & Arpels chief executive officer Nicolas Bos and Christophe Beaux, ceo of the Monnaie de Paris.

The collaboration is timed to coincide with the 110th anniversary of the Place Vendôme jeweler and is the latest in an annual series highlighting members of French luxury goods trade association Comité Colbert. The Paris mint has previously produced coins with Cartier, Baccarat and Sèvres – Ceramic City.

Joaquin Jimenez, art director of the Monnaie de Paris, tapped into VC&A codes such as the fairy for the engraved motifs, while the flip side of the coins feature stylized hands in a nod to the house’s craftsmen, or Golden Hands. The coins are stamped in a single process, unlike jewelry, which is carved, set and polished.

“What’s funny is that there was a sort of immediate connection with our jewelers,” said Bos. “It was love at first sight. They come from the same world, they speak the same language.”

Each coin has a face value that makes it legal tender in France. For instance, the largest coin has a nominal value of 5,000 euros, or $5,585, but will be sold in a limited edition of 11 priced 130,000 euros, or $145,170, each. It comes with a glass display dome, gloves, purse and magnifying glass.

“This piece can theoretically be used by the person who buys it in a store,” said Beaux. “A kilo of gold already costs 40,000 euros, so obviously you would be destroying a lot of value if you wanted to use it as currency.”

The coins are designed to appeal to collectors and jewelry aficionados alike. For instance, the 500-euro gold coin features an inset butterfly in mother-of-pearl, while the 10-euro silver coin – available in a limited edition of 5,000 priced 82 euros, or $92, each – borrows its quatrefoil shape from Van Cleef’s Alhambra line.

Bos said the pieces would go on display in VC&A flagships worldwide, including in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, although the Monnaie de Paris retains the exclusive selling rights.

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