Van Cleef & Arpels takes you behind the scenes with its jewelry academy.

In a city known as the muse for a million magical moments, with a pace as fast as the hurried tourists and locals that flood the streets daily, Maison Van Cleef & Arpels’ L’École is one Parisian gem that literally pauses time for its guests, if only for a brief moment.

Located in the Place Vendôme, the famous square that starts the Rue de la Paix in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, this unique school invites guests behind the scenes of a once tightly held secret of French jewelry making for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of hands-on artistry and one-on-one lessons with the French masters themselves. It’s here that students can not only meet with the experts themselves, but they also gain unrestricted access to these artisans while experiencing the materials in an entirely new way in the heart of the savoir-faire.

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

L’École opened in February of 2012 as a completely unique venture, the kind of which has never even been attempted before. Neither a gemological or professional school, this particular institution was and is a truly innovative concept that seeks to unwrap the treasured secrets of jewelry making and watchmaking for anyone who may be interested in plunging into this ancient art form.

It’s deep inside this 18th-century townhouse in the Place Vendôme in Paris that guests are welcomed to participate in specially programmed classes that go far beyond any marketing materials and dive right into the real world and artistry involved in making watches and jewelry.

Taught in either English or French, students have the choice to enroll in one or all 13 of the four-hour classes at the school, each corresponding to a certain set of interests, tastes and skill levels. Designed to give students an intimate immersion into this timeless form of artistry, each class is limited to a maximum of 12 participants so as to encourage dialogue and one-on-one opportunities.

Each course at the school is taught by one of the organization’s own professionals, from jewelers and expert art historians to gemologists and time historians, and is designed to take students deeper into the discovery of precious materials and an even more precious art form … one step at a time.

A POLISHED APPROACH

For students looking to get the full immersion into the world of jewelry making, this school boasts three separate themed programs from which to choose: History of Art, Universe of Gemstones, and Le Savoir-Faire (art craftsmanship).

HISTORY OF ART

Offering an in-depth look at the people, places and events that have shaped this glimmering industry over the years, this series of seven courses truly offer the best way to jumpstart an experience into this new world of artistry. Classes include:

1. Stories and Inspirations. Th is class is designed to immerse students in the historical currents that have shaped the aesthetics and culture of jewelry. This course goes beyond the history of the jewels to uncover how the human eye and hand have come together to masterfully manufacture extraordinary pieces of art.

2. Symbols and Power of Jewels. This powerful course explores the impact jewels have had on the emotional, political and mythical aspects of human culture.

3. Art Nouveau: Years of Freedom. It’s in this study that students will see how the shackles of history began to break off for artists during this free-spirited era of new aesthetic revolutions and techniques.

4. History of Time, History of Mankind. This fascinating course sheds light on the phenomenon of why humans have constantly strived to master time, from the Mesopotamians and the astronomical clocks to the 21st century and modern-day watchmaking.

5. The Story of Talisman Jewels. This class opens the doors to discover the symbolism of certain stones and gems along with the various virtues that have been associated with each jewel throughout different cultures.

6. Jewelry Mix and Match. Th is course takes students deeper into an understanding of personal taste and incorporating specific jewels into their own definitive style. A professional stylist will guide students in a way that lets the jewels become more than a statement piece, but rather an extension of the wearers personal style.

7. Entering the Van Cleef & Arpels Universe. After walking through the history of these jewels and the art of jewelry making, students will have the opportunity to touch, feel and even wear the Maison’s jewels in this course that proudly explains and displays the many creations by Van Cleef & Arpels.

UNIVERSE OF GEMSTONES

These two courses welcome students into the world of the jeweler by voyaging deep into the stones themselves. Classes include:

1. Interpreting the Gemstones. From birth to the extraction and shaping it of each stone, this hands-on course lets the student’s emotions be the guide that explores the origin and reason for each stone’s precious value.

2. Gemstones Investigation: Recognize the Stones. Delve into the real market of jewels with this course that gives students a greater understanding on gemology and the importance of the choice.

LE SAVOIR-FAIRE

While all the courses offered at L’École are spectacular in their own right, it’s these four classes that truly polish off the student’s immersion into the world of jewelry making. Classes include:

1. Admiring Uniqueness and Team Craftsmanship. Th is course explores true French craftsmanship and releases the secrets of the precision attention to detail these artists follow.

2. Explore and Create: From Design to Mock-Up. Starting with a jewel sketch and ending in a mock-up pewter, students will walk through the process of jewelry making.

3. Having Access to Van Cleef & Arpel Creations. After visiting the High Jewelry workshop and interacting with the craftsmen, students will gain a sharper image of these remarkable pieces.

4. Dive into the Heart of a Mechanical Watch. In this course, students actually get to dismantle a timepiece, then work with the artists to put it back together.

For more information on pricing and registration, visit www.lecolevancleefarpels.com.