Gem of an Education
STUDENTS OF Van Cleef & Arpels’ JEWELLERY SCHOOL BENEFIT FROM ITS MOVE INTO NEW PREMISES IN PARIS THAT PROVIDE MORE SPACE AND STUDY OPTIONS
Van cleef & arpels’ jewellery school, L’ecole, which quickly established an enviable reputation after its founding in 2012, recently moved into the maison’s renovated 18thcentury Paris townhouse, L’hôtel Van Cleef & Arpels des Métiers. The multistorey building on Place Vendôme provides the school with modern facilities, new classrooms and workshops, a library lounge and more space.
The renowned maison, known for innovations such as the Mystery setting and the Zip necklace, provides a fascinating look into the world of high jewellery through the carefully curated curriculum of its school. It’s a world where centuries-old skills are practised by a handful of artisans—and a world with a growing need for new recruits.
“A maison such as ours has the duty to support artistic craftsmanship so that it remains alive and ever more creative,” says L’ecole Van Cleef & Arpels president Marie Vallanet-delhom.
With the move into the new premises, which are designed in the style of an 18thcentury salon, the school was able to increase the number of courses it offers. As well as attracting people wanting to make a career in jewellery, the courses also draw those who are just curious or passionate about gems, who are interested in gaining an understanding of the techniques of jewellery-making rather than practising them.
“It is a jewellery-initiation school for the public,” says Vallanet-delhom. “The project aims to educate participants in taste and appreciation, and to offer them a hands-on experience, mastered and understood through personal experience.”
The curriculum offers students, whether novices or already working in the industry, a unique method of learning, she says. “A piece of jewellery is a result of collective work and a combination of different skills,” says VallanetDelhom. “There’s a large amount dedicated to experimentation, so in a four-hour class on appreciating jewellery techniques, we spend one hour in the classroom and three at L’ecole Van Cleef & Arpels’ workshops—where the master jewellers and designers are—to see how techniques are done, witness the completion of a piece and try it on.”
The school offers more than a dozen courses based on three themes: The History
of the Art, The Universe of Gemstones, and Le Savoir-faire. The history module reveals to students the major aesthetic sources and symbols that have influenced jewellery design throughout history. The Universe of Gemstones courses provide knowledge about the origin and evolution of gemstones, and students learn how to distinguish and manipulate precious stones.
Le Savoir-faire courses transport students to the workshops of Van Cleef & Arpels to explore, admire and experience the craftsmanship behind the creation of high jewellery and the maison’s timepieces.
Students can enrol in one or more courses, although a few, such as “Entering the Van Cleef & Arpels universe” and “Having access to Van Cleef & Arpels creations”, have prerequisite subjects.
More than 2,200 students from 30 countries have studied at the school since it opened in 2012. The curriculum has expanded to 13 courses that last for four hours each. The courses are given in French and English.
This month, Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewellery school takes up residence in Central, Hong Kong. Courses will run at PMQ on Hollywood Road for two weeks, from October 16 to November 1.
THE RENOWNED MAISON PROVIDES A FASCINATING LOOK INTO THE WORLD OF HIGH JEWELLERY THROUGH THE CAREFULLY CURATED CURRICULUM OF ITS SCHOOL
SPARKLY SCULPTURES The Savoire- Faire classes teach students to make jewellery moulds from pewter
CREATIVE SPACE L’ecole Van Cleef & Arpels’ lecture room in the maison’s 18th- century townhouse on Place Vendôme