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Why 'elite' jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels has won the heart of Queen Camilla

King Charles' wife's jewellery staples are so on-trend

Queen Camilla in brown coat
Katie Daly
Katie DalyLifestyle Writer
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The royals are known for their classic jewellery collections. From the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara to her recently wearing the late Queen's ruby tiara, Queen Camilla can always be relied upon to sport timeless jewellery pieces with historic pasts.

But eagle-eyed royalists may have noticed that the royal has started wearing a certain brand which gained popularity in recent years after being repeatedly rocked by influencer and former Love Islander Molly Mae Hague. The classic 'Alhambra 5 motif' necklaces and bracelets from the iconic brand have been sported by A-listers like Mariah Carey through to young royals like the Princess of Wales and have been emulated by affordable jewellery all year long.

Camilla talking to members of public at Clarence House© Getty
Camilla's Van Cleef bracelet has a special meaning

We asked a handful of jewellery experts why Queen Camilla has turned to this ultra-trendy jewellery brand and how it has become a staple in her collection.

Influencer Molly Mae in front of eiffel tower in beige blazer© Instagram
Influencer Molly Mae loves Van Cleef

Jewellery expert Stefano Pietrini, from Watches and Crystals says the reasoning behind Camilla's choice lies in the brand's glimmering history. "Van Cleef & Arpels' long history of dressing the most elite members of society, coupled with its fine craftsmanship and highest quality jewels, is what makes it so popular among royals, even to this day," Stefano tells us. "The Queen Nazli of Egypt is known to be one of the first royals to take a liking to Van Cleef & Arpels commissioning two famous pieces of jewellery, an art deco style tiara and a necklace containing over 600 diamonds, in the late 1930s."

Camilla shaking man's hand at ceremony© Getty
Have you spotted Camilla's trendy jewellery?

He says this cultural history has passed down to royals of recent years among Van Cleef & Arpels' most popular clients was Wallis Simpson, the former Duchess of Sussex, who is known to have challenged Van Cleef in creating their well-known high fashion and high-quality designs we see today." 

The meaning of the 'Alhambra' piece in particular is what has turned Camilla onto the brand. Stefano says: "This has been worn time and time again by both Queen Camilla and Princess Kate due to its elegant craftsmanship and meaningful clover design, said to provide luck to those wearing it". 

Queen Camilla speaks to Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland as they attend the Commonwealth Women Leader's event at Marlborough House© Getty
We love the 'Alhambra' design

Psychologist Barbara Santini tells us that it goes even deeper than that. "It’s about signalling a sense of continuity with tradition while embracing modern elegance," the psychologist says. "Van Cleef & Arpels has mastered the art of high jewellery, with each piece reflecting a legacy of craftsmanship that resonates with the royal pursuit of perfection. Royalty often embodies a living history, and by donning jewellery that has been crafted with a century's worth of expertise, they are essentially wearing a piece of art that echoes their own heritage."

The psychologist adds that the royals' investment in environmental issues will also play into Camilla's favouring of Van Cleef pieces. "In the age of social consciousness, royals are increasingly observed for their ethical and sustainable choices," she tells us. "Van Cleef & Arpels' commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability aligns with the modern royal ethos of responsible luxury."

Queen Camilla black and white photo smiling© Getty
Queen Camilla has taken to wearing Van Cleef

Natasha Gregory, Group Director of Buying and Merchandising at Fraser Hart says that Queen Camilla is a trendsetter and not a trend follower when it comes to the uber-trendy status of Van Cleef's pieces. "This kind of exposure can be immensely beneficial for luxury brands, as it not only enhances their reputation but also introduces their designs to a broader audience who might be inspired to explore and invest in similar pieces," she explains. "It's a testament to the power of fashion influencers, even those in royal circles, in shaping trends and driving awareness for particular brands and designs."

Molly Mae in blue feathered dress on balcony© Instagram
Can you spot Camilla's go-to bracelet on Molly Mae?

Monica Mistry, Founder of Luxe Tones, suggests that it may be slightly different. She reveals that Camilla's choice to wear the brand is a way of breaking into a different demographic of royalists. "Camilla will most likely wear the clothes and jewellery that are good quality and she likes, regardless of the current trends. [However] wearing trending jewellery brands could make her appeal to a younger audience as often younger people follow the style of Kate, Meghan [Markle] etc."

Kate in white and gold dress with van cleef jewellery© Getty
Kate wore Van Cleef to the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020

Then again, Dylan Pemberton, CEO and Co-Founder of We Love Diamonds, reminds us that Camilla is aware that trends can be fickle and that looking timeless is key. "Most senior figures in the royal family are well aware that anything perceived to be a zeitgeist trend today may well represent next year’s ignominy," Dylan tells us. "So the senior royals as a whole tend to avoid such pitfalls and will instead typically gravitate towards consistency alongside what are often seen to be traditional values and tastes."

Camilla in black dress with poppy on shoulder© Getty
The Van Cleef bracelet is a subtle nod to history

Whatever your theory about Queen Camilla's trendy jewellery, we can all agree that the clover design will remain a classic for a very long time and rightfully so.

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