Van Cleef & Arpels Reveals Its Secrets

  • Photo by Xavier Crespin
    Photo by Xavier Crespin
  • Photo ©Eric Sander
    Photo ©Eric Sander
  • Photo ©Eric Sander
    Photo ©Eric Sander
  • Photo by Xavier Crespin
  • Photo ©Eric Sander
  • Photo ©Eric Sander

The historic French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels is revealing some of its unique techniques in jewelry and watchmaking this summer, from July 17 to 31, in a series of hands-on courses at the Tokyo Station Hotel in Japan. Launched last year in Paris, the L’Écoleprogram was such a big success that the company decided to bring its jewelers, gemologists, and timepiece historians to transport the experience to Japan. The experts will work with just 12 students per class to inform them on gemstones, artisan jewelry-making techniques, watch complications, and more.

Classes include one called History of Time, History of Mankind, which explores the evolution of time-measuring inventions that span the clepsydra, a water clock used by the ancient Egyptians, to astronomical clocks and complicated 21st-century watches. Another watch course gives students a chance to disassemble a mechanical watch, taking apart every component—from gears to springs to escapement—and put it back together. In a new jewelry course, one of Van Cleef’s design experts will break down the various stages of jewelry making—including the sketch, tracing, and the gouache—and guide students through the creation of a three-dimensional mock-up in pewter. For lovers of jewelry and watches alike, the courses are a rare opportunity to learn the inner workings one of the industry’s greatest brands. (+33.1.70.70.36.00, www.lecolevancleefarpels.com)

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