VAN CLEEF & ARPELS 18K Gold, Platinum, 'Mystery-Set' Ruby, and Diamond Leaf Brooch
France; ca. 1935; the platinum leaf mystery-set with baguette-cut diamonds; surmounted by five overlapping leaves mystery-set with square-, rectangular-, and fancy-shaped rubies; signed and numbered Van Cleef & Arpels 46258
; French assay mark; 22.57 dwts.; lg. 3 3/8 in.; wd. 1 3/4 in.
Provenance: Property of a distinguished American Family.
Van Cleef & Arpels invented the mystery setting in 1935. The design demands perfectly matched stones, hand-cut with four additional facets, to obscure the metal settings with dazzling reflections. The secret behind the alluring invisible setting is the net framework on the underside of each piece, enabling Van Cleef & Arpels to spectacularly model any form or movement. The technique lends itself brilliantly to depicting natural forms, exemplified by this striking ruby and diamond brooch.