Mystery Settings

The unique technique of mystery settings

Mystery settings take their influence from a unique technique first pioneered by Van Cleef & Arpels ever since the Maison patented this dazzling style in 1933. The design features stones set in such a way that no prongs are visible. The level of expertise required to make such designs is only shared between a small number of master jewellers.

’18ct White gold ring set with 12cts of rubies & 1.83cts of diamonds.’


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

Stones are specially cut with a groove near the culet so that they can be slid onto rails and placed alongside the neighbouring stones. The rails are invisible and form a lattice underneath the solid surface of stones.

‘Pair of 15ct white gold drop earrings fully encrusted with brilliant cut diamonds & carrae cut sapphires.’

The technique is so intricate that producing a single clip takes no less than 300 hours of work. Each faceted stone is delicately inserted into thin gold rails less that two-tenths of a millimetre 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