Back to school
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.