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Brooch with invisibly set rubies, diamonds gold and platinum, designed by Van Cleef & Arpels

Brooch with invisibly set rubies, diamonds gold and platinum, designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, French, 1937

Patrick Gires/Van Cleef & Arpels

Definition: a method of setting gems, in which a mosaic-like array of stones seems to float seamlessly in a piece with no visible prongs or support; in reality, they have been cut individually and very precisely with grooved girdles and are locked into a thin wire framework underneath, like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle; tends to work most effectively on straight-edged cuts, such as emerald or baguette; developed in the mid-19th century in France, the technique was perfected and patented by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1933 as the "mystery setting"; technological advances in cutting techniques caused the method to surge in popularity in the mid-1990s

Also Known As: mystery setting, mystère setting

Example: The invisible settings of the sapphire earrings made them seem like two brilliant slashes of blue.

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