Cartier Vs Van Cleef & Arpels: Is One Luxury Jewelry Brand Better?

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Van Cleef and Arpels and Cartier are two of the top designer jewelry brands, but which brand is right for you? Find out in this Van Cleef vs Cartier article.

Each of these French luxury jewelry brands offers a wide range of incredible jewelry, made with the highest quality precious materials and embellished with stunning precious stones for a completely dazzling look.

Both Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier have iconic jewelry designs that are famous all over the world and beloved by customers – for example, the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra range of jewelry and the Cartier LOVE collection.

These brands both have similar histories and seem to offer a similar range of products so deciding between them can be a challenge. However, when you take a closer look, there are key differences between Van Cleef and Cartier that will help you to decide which brand is right for you.

This article will take a look at the history of each brand, the differences between them, and some of the best-selling items from the luxury brands, before coming to a conclusion on how Van Cleef & Arpels vs Cartier compare.

Van Cleef vs Cartier

The History of Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef and Arpels is a French luxury brand that was founded in 1896 by a Dutch diamond cutter, Alfred Van Cleef, and his son-in-law, Salomon Arpels. The first Van Cleef and Arpels store opened in 1906 at 22 Place Vendôme, with the assistance of the other Arpels brothers, Charles, Julien, and Louis Arpels.

The jewelry company steadily grew, creating stunning pieces of jewelry, often featuring floral or animal motifs. Van Cleef stores opened in Nice, Monte-Carlo, Vichy, and Deauville in the early 1920s, before they won the Grand Prize at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts for a ruby and diamond bracelet in 1925. This win propelled them to international fame and the brand grew rapidly.

These exceptional designs and high-quality materials caused Van Cleef and Arpels to catch the attention of the Iranian royal family. Van Cleef was commissioned to design the coronation crown for Empress Farah Pahlavi in 1967.

Since the 1960s, Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry has been worn by countless celebrities and members of the royal family, including Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardener, and Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.

Van Cleef is now one of the top luxury jewelry brands, with 146 Van Cleef and Arpels boutiques all over the world. The Alhambra collection, named after the Alhambra Palace, is one of the most incredible collections, a timeless classic that will look eternally stylish – and now that it is available in a range of different colorways, there is an option to suit every style.

The History of Cartier

This world-famous jewelry brand was founded by Louis-François Cartier in 1847, after Cartier took over the workshop of his master Adolphe Picard and began to design his own jewelry.

In 1874, Alfred Cartier took over his father’s modest jewelry company, but it was in the 1890s that Cartier began to gain prominence, when Alfred’s sons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques took over the brand. It was Louis Cartier’s designs that helped Cartier become the world-renowned brand it is today.

Cartier and Louis Cartier’s designs soon began to become world-renowned and the brand started to create jewelry for royalty – including the royal families of Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and Serbia.

In the subsequent years, it was not only royal families that often wore Cartier jewelry; Cartier has been a favorite of celebrities for decades. Most famously, Richard Burton bought his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, a 69 karat Cartier diamond ring, which cost $1.5 million in 1969.

Cartier continued to hire top jewelry designers to create the stunning designs we know and love today. Just one example of this is Aldo Cipullo, who was hired in the 1960s and designed both the LOVE bracelet and the Juste Un Clou bracelet – both of which are wildly popular pieces that have become iconic in the jewelry world.

Cartier continues to be one of the most prestigious jewelry manufacturers, with more than 200 stores in over 125 countries, as well as three ‘Temples’ in London, New York, and Paris – these are historic Cartier stores.

Differences between Van Cleef Vs Cartier

There are some important differences between Van Cleef and Cartier that you should be aware of before you decide which brand is right for you – so let’s delve into it!

1. price range

The price range is a great place to start. Both high-end jewelry brands offer jewelry and fine jewelry collections, so there are some really incredible pieces. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that some of the fine jewelry pieces by Cartier do not list a price on their website, and the price is only available on request – this means the top-end price may actually be higher than what we’re citing below.

At Van Cleef, necklaces start from $700 and go up to $950,000, bracelets range between $1,380 and $1,180,000, earrings are available for between $2,450 and $349,000, and finally rings sell for between $710 and $840,000. Van Cleef watches are available for between $7,750 and $494,000.

At Cartier, necklaces are available for between $650 and $372,000, bracelets range between $750 and $341,000, earrings sell for between $590 and $339,000, while rings can be as affordable as $790, or as expensive as $155,000. Cartier watches retail for between $2,700 and $305,000. As you can see, on the whole, Van Cleef is the more expensive brand.

2. Items Sold By the Brands

The range of items from both brands differs slightly, and this may have an effect on which brand you choose, depending on what you are looking for from these French companies.

Van Cleef and Arpels is focused on jewelry, with a range of high jewelry, jewelry, cufflinks, clips, watches, fragrances, and ‘extraordinary objects’ – these are primarily decorative animals and fairies encrusted with diamonds and precious stones.

Cartier, on the other hand, has a slightly wider range of products available, with not only high jewelry, jewelry, and watches on offer, but also bags, belts, stationary, small leather goods, eyewear, and a few fragrances.

3. Resale Price

The resale price is also an important thing to consider before you buy any luxury fashion or jewelry – just so you are aware of how your new purchase appreciates in value over time.

The most popular pieces from each brand, the Alhambra collection, and Cartier’s Just Un Clou have the same resale value on the secondhand market according to the Real Real, selling on average for 74% of the original price.

However, Van Cleef and Arpels in general is the better brand to invest in if you are looking for a financially sound jewelry purchase – the brand came second in the list of the Real Real’s Resale Value Charts only after Goyard, and surprisingly even ahead of Hermès.

The high resale value of Van Cleef and Arpels could be down to the luxurious materials used by the brand and the jewels they have on offer, including Lapis Lazuli, Mother of Pearl, agate, onyx, sapphire, ruby, emerald, obsidian, and malachite, as well as the highly coveted designs that the brand produces.

On the other hand, while Cartier jewelry also holds its value very well, especially LOVE and Juste Un Clou bracelets (if they aren’t damaged), overall, the resale value of Cartier jewelry is a little lower. We speculate that this is could be due to Cartier using fewer precious stones in their jewelry – they specialize more in pure gold pieces.

Best Selling pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels Vs Cartier

There are so many beautiful pieces available from both Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, so we have narrowed it down to a few of the best-selling items that you really need in your life – and hopefully, you will see something you want to add to your shopping cart!

1. Necklaces
Pink Van Cleef & Arpels 18K Rose Gold Diamond Rhodonite Vintage Alhambra Pendant Necklace
Browse Van Cleef Alhambra Necklaces on Fashionphile
Gold and green Cartier 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Chrysoprase XS Amulette de Cartier Pendant Necklace
Browse Amulette de Cartier Necklaces on Fashionphile

The Alhambra four-leaf clover design has become a famous motif that is a must-have in any luxury jewelry collection. The motif first appeared in Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry in 1920 and has become known as a symbol of good luck and good fortune.

This edition of the Alhambra design, the 18K Rose Gold Alhambra Pendant Necklace, is made from 18 karat rose gold, while the center of the clover is set with a pink rhodonite stone and is embellished with a single glittering brilliant cut diamond – just stunning!

This Cartier 18K Yellow Gold Amulette de Cartier Pendant Necklace is the perfect everyday piece that you can wear with any look.

The Amulette de Cartier design has been a part of the Cartier brand for decades and it remains one of Cartier’s most popular designs to this day. The necklace is crafted from 18-karat yellow gold and the Amulette is made from pale green chrysoprase chalcedony stone and set with a central diamond.

2. bracelets
Silver and blue Van Cleef & Arpels 18K White Gold Turquoise Sweet Alhambra Butterfly Bracelet
Browse Van Cleef Butterfly Bracelets on Fashionphile
Cartier 18K Yellow Gold Small Juste Un Clou Bracelet
Browse Cartier Juste Un Clou Bracelets on Fashionphile

The Alhambra range doesn’t just include a cover motif, there is also a stunning butterfly design, as seen in this Van Cleef and Arpels 18K White Gold Turquoise Sweet Alhambra Butterfly Bracelet.

This simple, high quality bracelet has a paired-back look, making it ideal for layering with other white gold jewelry. The delicate chain is crafted from 18 karat white gold and then finished with a turquoise butterfly, which is framed by beaded milgrain detailing.

The Cartier Juste Un Clou range is a beloved collection that has become iconic over the decades. The Juste Un Clou bracelet, just like the 18 karat yellow gold version pictured above, was designed in New York in 1971 by Aldo Cipullo.

The design of the bracelet is industrial-inspired and one of the more edgy pieces from Cartier but quickly proved popular. The twisted nail design is so chic and sophisticated and would fit perfectly into and luxury jewelry collection.

3. Earrings
Gold and green Van Cleef & Arpels Mini Frivole Earrings
Browse Van Cleef Frivole Earrings on The RealReal
Yellow, rose, and white gold Cartier Diamond Trinity Earrings
Browse Cartier Trinity Earrings on The RealReal

Van Cleef often seeks inspiration from the natural world in their timeless designs, just like these Van Cleef 18K Yellow Gold Mini Frivole Earrings. Each earring is a three-petal flower, made from 18-karat yellow gold and then finished with a round glittering green emerald in the center of each flower.

These earrings are simple enough to wear every day, but the addition of the emerald adds a little extra sparkle and makes them ideal for any summer special occasion.

The Trinity collection from Cartier is one of our favorites, combining rose, white, and yellow gold in a striking, intertwined design, as you can see from these gorgeous Cartier Diamond Trinity Earrings.

The three gold small hoops, in different colors, cross, and loop over each other for an eye-catching look and then have been encrusted with small round brilliant cut diamonds to add an extra special finishing touch. These beautiful earrings are the perfect accessory to add a little luxe to your outfit, day or night!

4. rings
Rose gold Van Cleef & Arpels Perlée Signature Ring
Browse Van Cleef Perlee Rings on The RealReal
Rose gold Cartier 18K Pink Gold Diamond 4mm LOVE Wedding Band Ring
Browse Cartier LOVE Rings on Fashionphile

Statement rings are a must-have at the moment, pair them with more minimalist rings for a perfectly curated look. This Perlée Signature Ring is the perfect addition to any ring collection.

The chic, modern design features a polished band of rose gold, framed by a row of rose gold pearl-shaped beads at the top and bottom for a bold look. The center of the band is engraved with the Van Cleef and Arpels brand name – just stunning! The paired-back design of this ring makes it ideal for everyday wear.

The Cartier LOVE bracelet has an iconic design and is perhaps the most famous piece of Cartier jewelry, featuring on the arms of countless celebrities, including Meghan Markle, Kylie Jenner, and Jennifer Aniston. The LOVE bracelet became popular, and the range was extended across all jewelry items, including rings.

We just love this Cartier 18K Pink Gold Diamond LOVE Ring. This Cartier ring is in rose gold and one of the screw motifs is replaced with a diamond to add a little extra sparkle.


Both Van Cleef and Cartier has so many gorgeous pieces of jewelry on offer that it is very difficult to decide between them!

If you have a little more money to spend and love a classic, timeless Van Cleef & Arpels is the brand for you. The designs of all their jewelry are exceptional, and the precious metals and stones they offer are just incredible.

Van Cleef & Arpels could also be the better brand to turn to if you’re looking for special occasion jewelry – they have a large collection of truly spectacular evening collections in addition to their more well-known everyday jewelry designs.

If you have a little less money to spend and want to add an iconic piece of jewelry to your collection, then Cartier is the brand for you. They have so many beloved, highly popular pieces that you really need in your life, ranging from bracelets to watches, to rings and beyond. All of them are so elegant and sophisticated that they are ideal for everyday wear!

We hope you found this article analyzing Van Cleef vs Cartier helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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