Van Cleef & Arpels Launches L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels in the Middle East

Van Cleef & Arpels announced today the forthcoming arrival of L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels (L’ÉCOLE) to Dubai later this year, marking the school’s first foray to the Middle East. The Paris-based school of jewelry arts will set up a nomadic campus at Hai d3, in the Dubai Design District to shed light on the hidden worlds of jewelry and watchmaking, from the 7th to the 25th of November, 2017.

As part of its Nomadic program, L’ÉCOLE will present a full set of classes led by professional jewelers, art historians, gemologists, and watchmakers. Evening conversations, several exhibits and other activities around jewelry, will complement the offering of the first visit of the jewelry school to our region.

A Nomadic School to Inspire & Educate

Founded with the support of the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris in February 2012, L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels is the world’s first school established for the general public to discover the savoir-faire, history and culture of fine jewelry and watchmaking. A school like no other, it presents a unique opportunity to enrich knowledge through experimentation and dialogue.

Although located in an 18th century mansion in Place Vendome – the cradle of Parisian jewelry- L’ÉCOLE travels around the world in a spirit of values of open sharing and transmission.  Having previously visited Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong, the school arrives to Dubai with the most ambitious program presented so far.

From Paris to the Middle East

L’ÉCOLE will bring its expertise to Dubai through a series of dialogues: interactive classes, creative workshops for children, and evening conversations.

L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels in Dubai will offer 13 adult classes around three broad themes: Savoir-Faire (know-how), Art History of Jewels, and The Universe of Gemstones. Each lasting for 2 to 4 hours, they are given by at least two professionals in their respective fields: jewelers, designers, mock-up makers, art historians, gemologist, watchmakers and a lacquer craftsman. These experts have an enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge and have all been trained to be excellent teachers.

In light of inspiring the youth, L’ÉCOLE also invites a young audience to develop its creativity while discovering a new world of jewelry design. Six creative workshops for children and adolescents from 5 to 16 will offer them the opportunity to explore the creative professions. These will take place through local schools’ collaborations during the week and will be open to the public during the weekends.

Synergizing jewelry and culture, L’ÉCOLE unites esteemed institutions of the Gulf, in evening conversations. Curiosity and dialogue are the watchwords of these exceptional occasions where an art historian from L’ÉCOLE and a local expert discuss different chapters of the world of jewelry.

As part of its enduring links with art and culture, L’ÉCOLE partners with Middle-Eastern educational and cultural institutions in collating a series of activations within Hai d3.

L’ÉCOLE will offer an array of exhibitions from a private jewelry collection to minerals from the MinesParis Tech. L’ÉCOLE also strives to cultivate and nurture emerging designers by showcasing the works of the finalists of the Van Cleef & Arpels Emerging Design Prize 2017.

“We are excited to announce the Middle East debut of L’ÉCOLE in a year when we celebrate our 5th Anniversary,” said Marie Vallanet-Delhom, President of L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels. “During the past five years, more than 16,000 students from all over the world have benefited from the educational content of L’ÉCOLE in Paris and abroad. “

“Bringing L’ÉCOLE to the GCC is part of our commitment to give back to the region we operate in. It allows us the opportunity to transmit our knowledge of fine craftsmanship, jewelry and watchmaking, a profession which the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels has been at the heart of for over a hundred years.” said Alessandro Maffi, Managing Director Middle East & India Van Cleef & Arpels. “We are honored that our initiative is being supported with reputed educational and cultural institutions from our region. We look forward to inspiring the new generation and gaining their interest in the art of jewelry design and watchmaking.

Taking over the community space of Hai d3, the facilities of L’ÉCOLE in Dubai include:

  • a design studio for learning gouache techniques
  • a jewelry workshop for experimenting with techniques
  • a gemology workshop for handling stones
  • a lacquerwork and watchmaking workshop
  • a classroom for teaching the history of jewelry
  • a library of resources and texts
  • an outdoor area to host evening conversations
  • several exhibition rooms

L’ÉCOLE and “The Year of Giving”

L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels in Dubai will be supporting the “Year of Giving”, as declared by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. All funds collected from course registrations during the event will be donated to Dubai Cares.

L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Partners

To support the arrival of L’ÉCOLE to the Middle East, the school has partnered with UAE-based institutions from a cultural and educational background.

L’ÉCOLE has formed a cultural partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, a destination partnership with Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), and is delighted to announce the following educational supporters:

  • Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation
  • Dubai Design District (d3)
  • Dubai Opera
  • Abu Dhabi Emirates Businesswomen Council
  • Institut français des Emirats arabes unis – Cultural department of the French Embassy
  • Sharjah Art Foundation
  • Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
  • Lest We Forget, supported by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

The Courses

Art History of Jewelry

  • History & Jewels
  • Fascinating Diamond: History & Legend
  • Wearing jewelry: rules and revolutions
  • Art Nouveau & Jewelry
  • Travel into the world of Van Cleef & Arpels

The Universe of Gemstones

• Introduction to Gemology

• The Diamond, a gemological exception

  • Gemstones investigation: recognize the gemstones


  • Explore & Create: from design to mock up
  • Explore & Create: from the wax project to the setting techniques
  • Explore & Create: from the French jewels to the Japanese lacquer
  • Trying your hands at Japanese Urushi Lacquer
  • Trying out the jewelers techniques
  • Dive into the heart of a mechanical watch

Enrollment will open in September.

About L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels:

Founded in February 2012, L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels is notable for an innovative curriculum geared towards shedding light on the very secretive worlds of Jewelry and Watchmaking. Its goal is to instill an intellectual and emotional understanding of the spirit of these exceptional crafts; to encourage mastery of their techniques through personal experience; to educate the hand, the eye and the sense of taste. It does so with the help of experts who are passionate about their subjects: art historians, virtuoso craftsmen, experienced jewelers, gemologists, and master watchmakers share their knowledge with students from all over the world.

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