I went to Paris to find out what you can do at L'Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels and joined students discovering the diverse and fascinating history of jewels, learning about the rich world of precious stones and mastering some of the skills of jewellery and watchmaking.
My day started with a lecture on the history of jewels, given by a specialist historian whose tantalising insight into the role and significance of jewels throughout the ages opened my eyes to new ways of understanding the history of adornment. A workshop course in jewellery-making started with a lesson in how to paint a sketch of a jewel with gouache. This was followed by time at the work bench learning how to set a row of diamonds.
I then popped into a gemmology course to discover how to recognise different gem stones and appreciate their diverse qualities. And this was just a little taster. With over a dozen different courses divided into three main areas of history, gemmology and craftsmanship, my day at l'École was but the start of my journey into a better understanding of the beautiful world of French fine jewellery and Swiss watchmaking.