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February 28, 2012

Van Cleef & Arpels Jewel School — Place Vendôme


Excerpts from Christina Passariello's February 23, 2012 Wall Street Journal story follow.

Two doors down from the Ritz hotel's gastronomic landmark, École Ritz Escoffier, on Paris's Place Vendôme, Van Cleef & Arpels is letting the public in on the secrets of high jewelry with a just-opened school.

No setting is richer for this than Place Vendôme, a square dating back to the 17th century that hosts many of the city's most exclusive  boutiques. Previously, the quiet atelier where craftspeople hunch over tables with their tiny, precise tools was off-limits to all but the house's inner circle. But this isn't a school for aspiring professionals; for that, sister brand Cartier (also part of luxury-goods group Compagnie Financière Richemont) opened a full-fledged academy. Instead, L'École Van Cleef & Arpels is for "enlightened amateurs," says head of school Marie Vallanet-Delhom, people who want to better appreciate the jewelry-making process.

The seven classes — each four hours long, taught in both French and  English — are divided into three sections and cost between $750 and  $1,200. The first section covers aesthetics and interpreting gemstones. The second explores jewelry history and craftsmanship. For the third, students can visit the atelier, talk with designers and workers, and try on jewelry.

With its school, Van Cleef & Arpels is expanding its ties with Place Vendôme, its hub of craftsmanship for more than a century. Part of the brand's mission, Villanet-Delhom says, is "passing on, sharing and teaching knowledge," which makes this school sound like a golden opportunity.

At the top, an ornate salon where classes are taught.

February 28, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Flautist: the folks who take the course are flaunting it. It is not that they lack taste, it that the only taste that they have is bad. I'm certain that the anorexic little things in attendance will be gazing at each other's rocks and not the accommodations.

How else does one move up that social ladder?

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Feb 28, 2012 6:16:08 PM

How ironic. They're covering aesthetics (first thing, too) in the classes and yet they have those HIDEOUS white barrel chairs and wiry-pedestaled tables in that palatial room. I don't care who designed them, they're eyesores in there. The white table surfaces I get, but they could've.... Oh never mind.

Posted by: Flautist | Feb 28, 2012 3:00:22 PM

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