There are few moments more magical than opening a jewellery box. We’re at once captivated by the sparkling piece within. We’re swept away by the wearable masterpiece, and don’t give much thought to how this radiant bauble came to be. Maybe the emerald can be traced to a crown in Colombia, or the gold from the palace of a Maharaja in India.
Jewels travel long distances and are carefully crafted into treasures by artisans in various ateliers. These pieces often have histories and stories that remain hidden along with the know-how, tradition, and expert technique that went into their creation.
Famed French mason Van Cleef & Arpels set out to change how the world appreciates jewellery. While founded in conjunction with Van Cleef & Arpels, the school stands independently to represent all jewellery education. L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts opens to the public to unveil the fascinating world behind exceptional craftsmanship.
“The singularity of our positioning lies in the fact that we are talking about the world of jewellery in the broadest sense. We talk about everything and everyone, throughout history, all cultures, all traditions, all continents, and the vast range of different jewellers and jewellery makers,” says Marie Vallanet-Delhom, president of L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in an interview with Magnifissance.
Students from around the world come to L’Ecole in Paris to learn insights from industry experts and master craftsmen. Twenty classes are offered in English and French on the themes of Savoir-Faire, History of Jewellery, and the Universe of Gemstones in the Place Vendôme, where top French jewellers have had their flagships for centuries.
In the talisman class, students hear about the exotic origins of iconic designs.
For example, in Greek mythology, people spoke of magical fairies that lived in the forest. When you wanted good luck, you would knock on their trees. This is why we still say “knock on wood.”
In the 1920s, Van Cleef & Arpels created a line of touch wood jewellery to bring luck to the wearer. “Pour avoir de la chance, il faut croire à la chance,” said founder Jacques Arpels, which translates as, “If you want to be lucky, you must believe in luck.”
“Many of our students tell us at the end of their course that they will never look at a piece of jewellery in the same way again,” says Vallanet-Delhom. “This is the most beautiful testimony we can have.”
Van Cleef & Arpels and L’ÉCOLE have made sure that at last the hidden world of fine jewellery is open and accessible to all enthusiasts, lovers of beauty, and anyone who wants to solve the mysteries of jewellery.