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Celebs Gather in OC for Opening of Van Cleef & Arpels Exhibit

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Photos by Allen Zaki

Over the weekend, famed jeweler and red carpet favorite Van Cleef & Arpels, unveiled A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels during a black tie affair at Santa Ana's Bowers Museum. As violins played in the foyer, champagne was passed around to the large group of guests, most who were lucky enough to be covered in diamonds for the evening.

Van Cleef & Arpels' President and CEO's Nicolas Bos and Alain Bernard were also on-hand, mingling and available to offer any explanation of the over-200 piece exhibit which dates back 100 years and includes pieces worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace Kelly and Jennifer Garner.

Celebrities in attendance included AnnaLynne McCord, Krysten Ritter and fashion It-girl Camilla Belle, who was really taken by the significance of the exhibit. "You hear about pieces that Grace Kelly wore," she said of one the exhibit's main attractions. "I have [worn Van Cleef] for many years now, that's why I wanted to come here and see all these pieces. Elizabeth Taylor's necklace was absolutely stunning, that was really special because I've looked up to her my whole life."

Aside from the exhibit's most iconic pieces, there were also key pieces from the private collection of Van Cleef & Arpels including watches, jewelry, accessories and archived drawings of the Place Vendôme High Jewelry Maison.

Guests in attendance got an up-close look at the exhibit the evening before it opened to the public. McCord, who toured the exhibit in a bright red dress worn with blinding Van Cleef earrings and bracelet, spent some time online before choosing to wear the jewels, "I don't wear diamonds that much, I have to do a lot of research if I'm going to wear them," she said referring to the ethics issue often associated with the gems. "I have to know where they're coming from. It's really incredible that Van Cleef & Arpels does the social responsibility report every year."

As for that massive bracelet on McCord's left wrist? "I don't like classic anything—I like something that is unique." Unique, indeed. The exhibit is now open to the public and will run through February 15, 2014.
· Van Cleef & Arpels [Official Site]
· Bowers Museum [Official Site]
· Toast Luxe Timepieces At the Rodeo Drive Festival of Watches [Racked]
· Van Cleef & Arpels' Reopening Bash Featured Live Ballet [Racked]