If anything, Van Cleef & Arpels are recognized for the unique way their stones are set – the Mystery Set.
This Mystery-Set Bouquet Brooch is an early example of the Mystery Setting. Van Cleef & Arpels as sought for creative innovation through improving stone cutting and setting techniques. The invention of new mechanisms during the Industrial Revolution resulted the development and patented ‘Mystery-Setting’ in the mid 1930s. This new setting technique resulted in a perfectly matched and hugging shapes where the stones come together to form a seamless surface.
In 2011, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum exhibited the stunning designs in Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels. The exhibition focused on the historical significance of the firm’s contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century through the lenses of inspiration, exoticism, fashion and celebrity, and archival design drawings.
Read more about their constributions in design history at the exhibition site: http://www.cooperhewitt.org/microsites/set-in-style
Below are slides that briefly summarize Van Cleef & Arpels constributions, achivements, and historial significance.