A jewellery education with Joanna Hardy

Do you want to learn more about jewellery? Then sign up for one of Joanna Hardy's jewellery master classes where you will learn how to be a more discerning jewellery lover.

Joanna Hardy, founder of the Jewellery School of Excellence

Do you want to learn more about jewellery? Then sign up for one of Joanna Hardy's jewellery master classes where you will learn how to be a more discerning jewellery lover. From a rollicking ride through the history of jewels starting in the 18th century to auction house insider tips, just one day at Joanna Hardy's Jewellery School of Excellence had me more enthralled than ever with the world of jewels.  From the very basics, such as learning how to use a jewellers loupe and here the trick is to keep both eyes open to hazarding guesses at dating jewellery or how to spot a fake jewel, Joanna Hardy's Master Classes are an education like none other. After a few sessions even a wet-behind the ears beginner can take an educated punt on whether a piece is a "breaker" or a "keeper" (a jewel to be broken up for the stones or kept intact) and know an intaglio from an Essex crystal. If presented with loose diamonds at a jewellery shop, students of Ms Hardy will know to turn them upside down on a white card and breathe onto them before looking at them to see their true colour without the interference of reflections and to always inspect rubies under a yellow light. Or they may well sniff a gold chain in the knowledge that gold has no smell but copper and brass do. But it is not all about antique jewels. Hardy gives advice on how to invest in contemporary masters and offers her professional opinion on jewellers that she ranks as tomorrow's big names. "For me jewellery is not just about the value of the stones but the design, the craftsmanship and beauty. If I see a piece of jewellery and it reminds me of someone else, then it's not going to be on my top jewellers list," is how Hardy judges this art form and also offers advice on how to buy modern jewellery. Hardy has spent her life surrounded by jewels. An early interest in making jewellery while at Bedales school led onto training as a jeweller and goldsmith at Sir John Cass College in London. She then joined De Beers as a rough diamond valuer and grader and went on to trade polished diamonds in Antwerp, Tel Aviv and Mumbai. For the last 14 years, Hardy was a senior specialist and auctioneer at Sotheby's in London and appears on the BBC's Antiques Road Show as a jewellery expert. Now Hardy is an independent valuer and advisor. "I want to nurture people's interest and it's not just about owning things but appreciating the art," says Hardy. "Every time I have spoken at a lecture, it is amazing the amount of enthusiasm and how people are keen to know more. The response has been so encouraging that I want to give people the opportunity to look at jewellery from a different angle and there isn't anywhere else people can go to learn more." Hardy hopes that this unusual and unique series of courses will attract those wishing to know more about this subject and open their eyes to spending their money wisely as well as an interesting day out for those who want to be entertained while learning something new.The next series of classes will take place in London on: An introduction to the wonderful world of gemstones and jewellery from 1900-1935, the Golden Age of Jewellery April 11th, May 23rd, June 13th Three day master class from the 9-11th May 2011. For more information on course dates visit Joanna Hardy

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