Back to school

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Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

Bud­ding jeweller? Gem­stone en­thu­si­ast? His­tory nerd? Or just look­ing for a new in­ter­est? L’école Van Cleef & Ar­pels ticks all the boxes and is back in town

WHERE ART, GEMS AND IMAG­I­NA­TION MEET

L’école is once again tak­ing up res­i­dence in the Qube at the hip arts hub PMQ. For its two-week run, the Qube will be trans­formed into an eclec­tic and cre­ative space in­spired by Hong Kong’s ori­en­tal her­itage.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM

Paris-based L’école, Van Cleef & Ar­pels’ no­madic school of jew­ellery arts, first trav­elled to Hong Kong in 2014, then in 2016, on both oc­ca­sions earn­ing critical ac­claim for its pro­gramme. Its third edition runs from Septem­ber 16 to Oc­to­ber 1.

AM­A­TEURS WEL­COME

The classes are de­signed es­pe­cially for non-pro­fes­sion­als want­ing to know more about the world of gems and jew­ellery. Tech­ni­cal jar­gon is sim­pli­fied and the hands-on work­shops are de­signed so first-timers will en­joy the un­fa­mil­iar tasks rather than be over­whelmed by them.

NEW PRO­GRAMME

The 10 cour­ses of­fered this year, six of which are new, are grouped un­der three themes: Art His­tory of Jew­ellery, Savoir-faire, and the Uni­verse of Gem­stones. The max­i­mum class size is 12, guar­an­tee­ing an ex­cel­lent teacher-to-stu­dent ra­tio.

STO­RIED JEW­ELS

Each jewel and pe­riod has a story to tell. In one pre­sen­ta­tion, art his­to­ri­ans re­veal the fas­ci­nat­ing prove­nance of se­lected pieces, and the “Art Nou­veau Jew­ellery” ses­sion ex­am­ines a piv­otal era that ush­ered in a rad­i­cal and vi­brant artis­tic style that strongly in­flu­enced jew­ellery de­sign.

TOP OF THEIR CLASS

The classes, which last be­tween two and four hours, are taught by a di­verse group of ex­perts, in­clud­ing sea­soned jewellers, ar­ti­sans, art his­to­ri­ans and gem­mol­o­gists. On com­ple­tion of each course, stu­dents will re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate signed by Marie Val­lanet-del­hom, pres­i­dent of the school.

AF­TER HOURS

For those who have to en­dure a long, hard day at work, af­ter­hours con­ver­sa­tions mod­er­ated by gem and jew­ellery ex­perts will take place over wine, cheese and canapés, cov­er­ing sub­jects as di­verse as col­lect­ing jew­ellery, ex­otic pearls from the Asia-pa­cific re­gion, and the minerol­ogy of gem­stones.

RO­MANC­ING THE STONES

Stu­dents will be­come well-in­formed con­nois­seurs by learn­ing how to iden­tify gem­stones based on their colour and prop­er­ties, us­ing both the eye and gem­mo­log­i­cal in­stru­ments, and will gain in­ti­mate in­sights into the ex­quis­ite stones that come from the mines of Chan­thaburi in Thai­land, Rat­na­pura in Sri Lanka or Bo­gota in Colom­bia. Fas­ci­nated by di­a­monds? A course ded­i­cated to this gem re­veals ev­ery­thing from its unique chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion to the se­crets of its colour, clar­ity and cut.

AR­TI­SAN FOR A DAY

The school of­fers an ar­ray of hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences in jew­ellery mak­ing, in­clud­ing wax­ing, set­ting stones and cre­at­ing mo­tifs out of metal and veg­etable ivory. A work­shop also teaches stu­dents how to ap­ply lac­quer to mother-of-pearl us­ing the Ja­panese urushi tech­nique. Or a les­son in gouache or jew­ellery ren­der­ing might suit you. In a two-step course, stu­dents will first be taught how to cre­ate di­men­sion and vol­ume in a jew­ellery piece through the play of light, fol­lowed by a les­son on how to use the colour, lus­tre, bril­liance and shape of a gem­stone to its full ad­van­tage.

YOUNG­STERS AL­LOWED

It’s best to start ’em young, as they say, so L’école of­fers a se­ries of cre­ative work­shops for small groups of chil­dren. Young­sters from the age of 5 to 16 can cre­ate their own art ob­jects—from crowns and swords to clocks and trea­sure chests—us­ing dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als. Teens who pre­fer some­thing more chal­leng­ing can try their hand at mak­ing jew­ellery mock-ups or get­ting ac­quainted with the world of gem­stones.

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