Imaginary Worlds

The Mystery Set, a jewelry-making feat

The Mystery Set™ is a true feat in the world of jewelry-making and an iconic example of Van Cleef & Arpels’ unparalleled expertise. This technique, patented in 1933, makes it possible to set precious stones (rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds) with no prong or other metal component visible.

 

The level of expertise required to create a Mystery Set piece is such that only a privileged few master jewelers hold the secret. The technique is so complex, that it can require up to eight hours of work to achieve the perfect cut.

The traditional Mystery Set is accompanied by two additional techniques, developed subsequently: the Navette Mystery Set and the Vitrail Mystery Set.

The Navette Mystery Set, uses polished marquise-cut stones, to bring creations to life through a stunning 3D effect evocative of a bird’s plumage or flower’s petals. In 2018, Van Cleef & Arpels adapted this technique for emeralds and diamonds, to create the Pomme de pin clip, a one-of-a-kind piece depicting a precious cluster of pine cones.

  • Cadix clip, platinum and white gold, round diamonds, and in rose gold, Mystery Set rubies, Flowers collection, Van Cleef & Arpels

    Cadix clip and design, White gold, platinum, rose gold, Traditional Mystery Set rubies, diamonds, Flowers collection

Meanwhile, the Vitrail Mystery Set conceals the mounting on both sides of a creation, playing on the stones’ translucency. Meticulously buffed, they come alive in a medley of reflections and nuances, as can be seen on the Panache Mystérieux High Jewelry clip.