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Tried and tested: L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in Dubai

Shine bright with your new-found knowledge…

With support from French luxury jewellery company, Van Cleef & Arpels, the L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in Dubai has opened its doors to spread a dose of jewellery culture to those keen to know more. 

If you’re interested in gemstones; recognising gemstones; jewellery history; the world of jewellery and beyond, the L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts is the place to sign up for a quick and informative course.

And you don’t have to have any prior knowledge. The courses are open to everyone, from beginners to collectors, the curious, and even young adults. If you don’t have much time on your hands to head to Dubai Design District, there are online courses, too.

Team What’s On took the four-hour Entering the Van Cleef & Arpels Universe course. Here’s our experience… 

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts

We made our way to d3 at 9am, which is fairly early for us to be out and about especially on the weekend, but we were excited for the experience ahead.

The course was scheduled at 10am, but according to the recommendations made by the L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, we were to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled time to have a chat with our teachers. Once at the school, we received our wristbands and enjoyed the light bites and coffee while chatting to other students.

At 10am, we were escorted to the ‘classroom’ where the two professors introduced themselves and gave us an overview of the course. It’s been a while since we’ve sat in a classroom, and we did feel slightly overwhelmed with the history lesson at first, but we were soon able to grasp the information coming at us. For fellow note-takers, all students are provided with notepads, so scribble away.

This particular course shone a light on the history of the Maison including a synopsis of the love story between Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef, before diving into the growth of the business and the various factors that helped it become the luxury jewellery company it is today.

The course takes us through the decades that followed, from the prominent position of the very first store to the war and its effects on the business and how it changed the way people wore jewellery, the evolution of the style, hidden messages in design, and beyond.

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts

In each section, we were informed of facts that we are sure to remember for a lifetime, for example… did you know back in the day, it was inappropriate for a lady to wear a timepiece? The Maison figured a way around this by hiding a tiny clock in necklaces, and a box clutch.

And of course, time was spent on the still-popular Alhamra Collection – the iconic four-leaf clover – a symbol of good luck and fortune.

The four-hour course includes an approximate 15-minute break where you can refill on coffee and maybe nab a bite to each before the course continues.

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts

Post the break, the session continued with the growth of the luxury Maison. We were also given a group activity which was a great interactive experience which showed us how jewellers arranged the gems on jewellery – albeit, we tried (with shakey hands) to do it on a much larger scale.

At the very end, we were given a simple quiz which we could (thankfully) answer as a class, and as a reward, we were also shown some gorgeous Van Cleef & Arpels statement pieces, which we ooh-ed and aah-ed over.

At the end of the class, we were given our certificates with our names, the course, and the date – something you can show off to loved ones.

Want to take a course?

There are several courses available which you can view here, with varying prices (starting from Dhs400) and time frames. If it’s more your learning style, there are more hands-on courses which include equipment and techniques real gemologists use when inspecting gemstones.

There are even workshops for little ones – which is perfect for them to take when they are off on summer vacations.

They can make a working precious clock, draw previous stones, create their very own gemstones and more. Prices start from as low as Dhs150 and classes are around two hours.

Each month, L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts also offers free online talks open to everyone. So stay tuned to @lecolemiddleeast

The best news?

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts is a partner with Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization and 100 per cent of the proceeds from the courses are donated to Dubai Cares to support their youth education programs.

So, while you get to enjoy a wonderful learning experience, you can walk away with a smile on your face knowing that your dirhams are going towards educating someone in a developing country.

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Images: Supplied by Dubai Media Office, L’ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts and socials 

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