In February 2012, the French high jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels took the bold step of opening an école in an 18th-century townhouse on the place Vendôme in Paris. Devoted to opening up the secretive worlds of jewellery and watchmaking to lovers of both artforms, its success in Paris has prompted the L'École Van Cleef & Arpels to take up residence in Tokyo for two weeks over the summer, offering a range of courses designed to enlighten and inspire.
Not a school in the traditional sense, L'École Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris offers a different approach to education, encouraging intellectual and emotional understanding through stimulating discussions and hands-on experience. In its first year, 1,500 students passed through the doors of the école. Each had enrolled on one of 13 thematic courses, built around three themes: History of Art, Savoir-Faire and the Universe of Gemstones. Courses range from the introductory 'Stories and Inspirations', which immerses you in the essence of the history of jewellery, to the specialist 'Dive Into the Heart of a Mechanical Watch', which allows participants to take apart a watch movement and then reconstruct it, piece by piece.
For an exceptional fortnight over the summer, a selection of nine courses will be offered at the historic Tokyo Station Hotel, which recently reopened after a full-scale refurbishment. Running between 17 and 31 July 2013, including weekends, each lasts four hours and will be presented in French, with a Japanese interpreter.
Courses will be offered across each of the three themes, including 'Jewellery Mix and Match' and 'History of Time, History of Mankind'. The first examines the links between jewellery and couture and encourages you to develop your own style of jewellery wearing. The second was developed in partnership with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and will be presented by the historian Dominique Fléchon, an expert in ancient and modern watchmaking at the Fondation. An exploration of timekeeping over the centuries, it will look at intruments developed to measure time, from the Mesopotamian era to the cutting-edge watches of the 21st century.
To enrol for one of the nine L'École Van Cleef & Arpels courses in Tokyo and to find out more about the L'École Van Cleef & Arpels at place Vendôme in Paris, please visit the Van Cleef & Arpels website.