09 March 2016
L’École Van Cleef & Arpels, the school of a dream
In Paris, this school founded by Van Cleef & Arpels reveals the fascinating world of jewelry to the public. Some courses are even designed to initiate children to the jewelry world.
What is the difference between a ruby and a sapphire? Who were the greatest jewelry collectors? How are the jewelry pieces displayed in the windows made? “The house embodies leadership, it has a duty to pass on the history of jewelry and reveal the tremendous expertise involved in creating it”, explains Marie-Vallanet Delhom who initiated this project and who is the president of this school opened in 2012. “And why not encourage vocations.” Established on Place Vendôme in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has all the legitimacy to do so. With an international reputation, it is synonymous with French excellence making its mark on the history of jewelry with its unique style and major innovations such as the Mystery Setting. Another feature of the house: it attaches great importance to the culture at large with high jewelry collections inspired by the great legendary balls, luck, cinema and literature.
The courses are developed by a committee of gemologists like Dominique Dufermont, craftsmen and then historians like Inezita Gay or Gislain Aucremanne. They reveal the history of such stylistic trends as Art Nouveau, the skills like engraving and setting, and the lives of great collectors, just to name a few. Theory alternates with practice: one learns a technique while experimenting with Japanese lacquer with a leading Japanese craftsman; one learns to use a jeweler’s saw and burin to make a bow clip. The school also offers conferences with experts who come in the evenings just to continue this journey of initiation into the world of jewelry. Here there is no question of pre-established courses: everyone can put together an à la carte program according to desires and the time available. For those who do not have the opportunity to come to Paris, the school travels around the world several times a year. A very unique concept.