Today we take the humble zipper for granted.  The fastener was invented in the 19th century and was initially used for rubber boots and tobacco pouches. But by the 1920's and 1930's, the zipper started to appear in clothing even in haute couture houses.

Legend has it that the Duchess of Windsor saw the zipper on a dress created by her favorite couturiers, Elsa Schiaparelli. The designer was one of the first to use the fastener not just as a functional fastener but as a style element.

In 1938, the Duchess suggested to Renée Puissant, the then Creative Director of Van Cleef and Arpels, that the zipper could be made into a beautiful jewelry design.

It was a huge technical challenge for the renowned Maison. It took their skilled craftsmen more than 10 years to create a perfectly functional zipper using precious metals like gold or platinum as the teeth and complete it with a closure.  The Zip necklace is a remarkable transformative design because it can be zipped into a bracelet as show in this Van Cleef and Arpels' video. 

The first Zip necklace was made in 1951.  Zip necklaces are still part of the jeweler's signature collections.  Not many Zip necklaces have been made over the years due to the intensive labor involved  - 400 to 1200 hours - just to create one.

In November 2019, the beautiful lapis lazuli, sapphire, diamond and white gold Zip necklace shown at the top and below sold for nearly US$560,000 at a Phillips auction!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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