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fig.: Silk Road Dancer clip (white gold, round and rose-cut diamonds, red gold and Mystery Set rubies). Photo: (C) Van Cleef & Arpels.

'Timeless Beauty' the title of the exhibition of creations by the Parisian high jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Shanghai which opens tomorrow on 20 May and will be on show until 15 July 2012. It's the first time that Van Cleef & Arpels exhibits in China.

The Haute Joaillerie Maison is known for special techniques like the Mystery Setting - on view on the photo on this page. The Mystery Setting makes the holding of the stones invisible. Van Cleef & Arpels developed the technique in the early 1920ies and patented it in 1933. The basis for the holding is an extremely fine net of gold into which each stone is individually inserted. The stones have to match perfectly for the 'seamless' effect.

fig.: The name of the 'Silk Road Dancer'-clip pays homage to Chinese dance theatre and the classical dance drama 'Along the Silk Road'.

"Inspired by the celebrated frescoes of Dunhuang, it tells the story of a painter, his daughter and a Persian merchant. Along the Silk Road has been performed worldwide in over 20 countries, including France, Italy, the United States, Thailand, and in Hong Kong." explains Van Cleef & Arpels the inspiration for the Silk Road Dancer clip.

The ballet dancer's face - this is characteristically for Van Cleef & Arpels ballerinas, is delineated by a rose-cut diamond. Her costume is made of rubies in Mystery Setting. It takes between 3 and 5 hours to cut each individual gemstone; it needs several hundred hours to finalize one jewellery piece.

At the MOCA in Shanghai, Van Cleef & Arpels will present pieces spanning over 100 years up to recently designed items and made by the house's jewellers and their iconic techniques. More than 370 pieces from the Van Cleef & Arpels own collection as well as pieces by private French and International owners will be on display.

Video: Van Cleef & Arpels' President Stanislas de Quercize and Creative Director Nicolas Bos introduce into the history of the house and provide a preview to the exhibition at the MOCA in Shanghai (20 May - 15 July 2012).

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