A magical world of fairytales and natural wonder, all encrusted with the sparkliest of jewels. Welcome to the universe of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Nestled deep inside Place Vendôme in Paris, you’ll find a beautiful, large archway leading to L’Ecole, Van Cleef & Arpels’ unique learning institution into the secretive worlds of jewellery and watchmaking.
I was invited to discover the magical universe of Van Cleef & Arpels last week and was completely blown away by the level of intricacy and artistic precision that takes place to create each and every piece of jewellery and watch.
The course begins with an hour of initiation, introducing all students to the history of the Maison.
Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery and watches revolve around themes such as worlds of fantasy, ballerinas, flora and fauna. Their whole universe is whimsical and joyous (and oh so pretty!).
They are infamous for their (now patented) ‘Mystery Setting’, a technique in which each stone is placed onto gold rails that when finished, are completely invisible. This unique technique requires up to three hundred hours of work per piece and only a few products are produced in this way in a year.
The way each piece of jewellery is hand crafted from start to finish is beyond incredible. Stunning designs are first sketched and then skilfully painted, followed by skeletons of the pieces being carved out of wax or metal and non-precious stones. Finally, the real masterpiece is put together, in all its glory!
Knowledge and technique is passed down from jeweller to jeweller with many of Van Cleef’s employees working for the company for decades!
A truly unique and one of a kind experience, it’s incredible to see the behind-the-scenes of the true technique, skills, hours and hard work that goes into creating such wonderful jewellery creations!
L’Ecole opened its doors to the public in 2012 and courses are available to book on their website: http://www.lecolevancleefarpels.com/en
I highly recommend this course if you’re interested in jewellery making or just curious to understand what really goes on in the secretive world of luxury jewellery watches.
I was invited as a guest of Van Cleef & Arpels.
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