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The Mystery Setting ™


Mystery Setting™ is the unique technique associated with Van Cleef & Arpels ever since the Maison patented this dazzling invention in 1933. It consists of setting stones in such a way that no prongs are visible. The level of expertise required makes Mystery Setting™ the exclusive realm of a very small number of master jewelers.

The technique is so intricate that producing a single brooch takes no less than 300 hours 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.

The buffed edges of the stones create the impression of an uninterrupted surface.

The Mystery Setting™, a unique savoir-faire
  • Pivoine clip
    Pivoine clip, 1937, Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection
  • Caresse d’Eole clip
    Caresse d’Eole clip, 2003, Midsummer Night’s Dream collection
  • Ruban necklace
    Ruban necklace, 2004, Couture collection
  • Héloïse clip
    Héloïse clip, 2007, Ballet Précieux collection
  • Kallima ring
    Kallima ring, 2009, Papillons collection
  • Oiseaux de Paradis clip
    Oiseaux de Paradis clip, 2009, Oiseaux de Paradis collection
  • Fleurs Mystérieuses necklace
    Fleurs Mystérieuses necklace, 2011, Bals de Légende collection
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    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.