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A dazzling and unique technique exclusive to an extremely selected number of master jewellers, creating at the highest levels of execution and expertise.

 

Mystery Setting™ is an innovative technique Van Cleef & Arpels patented in 1933. It consists of setting stones in such a way that no prongs are visible, and it is so intricate that producing a single brooch takes no less than 300 hours of work.

Each faceted stone is delicately inserted onto thin gold rails less than two-tenths of a millimeter thick. Once complete, the gems appear to be entirely free-standing.

Because of the complexity of the process, Mystery Set pieces are extremely rare: the Maison produces no more than a few of them each year.

At first, Mystery Setting™ was reserved for flat pieces such as the Minaudière® precious case. But as the technique developed, Van Cleef & Arpels began using it on more complex shapes and with varying degrees of thickness.

Most recently, the Maison has begun to use marquise-cut gems in Mystery Setting™ for a few spectacular pieces.

This latest innovation takes the technique to a new level:  the buffed edges of the stones create the impression of a shimmering, uninterrupted surface. A spectacular example of this technical evolution is The Pérroquet Mystérieux Clip:

Van Cleef & Arpels Perroquet Mystérieux Clip, Les Voyages Extraordinaires Collection, 2010
Van Cleef & Arpels Pérroquet Mystérieux Clip, Les Voyages Extraordinaires Collection, 2010

 

The key piece from the High Jewellery collection Les Voyages Extraordinaire™ the Mysterious Parrot, inspired by Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon, represents a veritable feat in jewellery by combining the incomparable quality of its set stones with the highest technical expertise.

Two Mystery Setting™ techniques were used to create this spectacular piece: the traditional and marquise-cut techniques are both used to highlight the pure whiteness of the baguette diamonds.

With an air of peaceful serenity, this exotic bird with sapphire feathers perches gracefully on the branch of a tree blossoming with flowers of chalcedony and pink opals. The tail of the parrot ends with two pear-shaped diamonds nestled within gradations of sapphires.

Another spectacular creation is this The Oiseau Mystérieux Clip.

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This jewel belongs to the collection Une Journée à Paris. The illusion of movement and volume created by the bird’s feathers is highlighted by the interplay between the rubies in Mystery Set™ and the baguette-cut diamonds.

In the Maison’s established tradition of creative transformability, the tail feathers are detachable and can be worn as a separate clip:

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And here is a marvellous gallery of Mystery Set creations through the years:

Pivoine clip, 1937, Van Cleef & Arpels' collection.
Pivoine clip, 1937, Van Cleef & Arpels’ collection.
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Trèfles Mystérieux Necklace, Palais de la Chance Collection, 2010
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Montgolfière Mystérieuse Ring, Les Voyages Extraordinaires Collection, 2010
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Coquillage Mystérieux Ring, Seven Seas Collection, 2015
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Ailes Mystérieuses Fairy Clip, Feminine Figures Collection, 2015

 

Material courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels.

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