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L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts makes a dazzling debut in the Middle East.
L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts Van Clef & Arpels Nicolas Bos
Each year, L’ÉCOLE Middle East will host free exhibitions, as part of its mission to spread the world of jewelry to as many people as possible.

Founded in 2012 in Paris with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts is dedicated to educating audiences–both beginners and experts–on all things jewelry. Following a series of successful traveling sessions, L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts has found a permanent home in Dubai’s Design District. The jewelry school will offer a rich program of courses, panel talks, free temporary exhibitions, publications, and research projects. The courses offered at the school revolve around three themes: Savoir-Faire, the History of Jewelry, and the Universe of Gemstones.

The L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts opened the doors to its new Dubai campus with a special inaugural ceremony. Nicolas Bos, President & CEO, Van Cleef & Arpels Worldwide, Khadija Al Bastaki, Senior Vice President of Dubai Design District, Sophie Claudel, Director of L’ÉCOLE Middle East, Lise MacDonald, President of L’ÉCOLE, Constance Guisset, Designer of L’ÉCOLE Middle East, and Valentina Bruccoleri Exhibition curator & PhD in Chinese Art History, were also in attendance.

To commemorate the occasion, the school debuted a special exhibition, ‘Gold & Treasures – 3000 Years of Chinese Ornaments.’ Open to the public, the mesmerizing presentation curated by Valentina Bruccoleri will run from April 26, 2024, to August 10, 2024.

To honor the occasion, we sat down with Nicolas Bos to learn more about the world of jewelry, L’ÉCOLE Middle East, and what the school strives to achieve in the region. 

Scroll down to read Buro247ME’s exclusive interview with Nicolas Bos. 

L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts Van Clef & Arpels Nicolas Bos

Can you please explain the idea behind L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts and the inspiration behind its establishment?

We are a part of the world of jewelry with Van Cleef & Arpels, and working in that field is really a privilege. It is, of course, a commercial activity, amongst many things, but in the past few decades, it has been somehow restricted to that. Jewelry is a part of the luxury world, so it’s very much about brands, stores, and marketing strategies. Underneath all of that, we felt like the cultural and historical importance of jewelry was getting forgotten. In the 1990s and 2000s, we noticed that there were fewer exhibitions, museum presentations, and research programs in universities about jewelry. 

Also, we, as jewelers, talked to a lot of visitors to some exhibitions, clients, and journalists who often asked us where they could learn a bit more about jewelry, its origins, the different trends, and some technical aspects. There were of course, professional schools for gemologists, but at that time there weren’t really any platforms or books that you could refer to as an amateur jewelry enthusiast. This is precisely what drove us to start L’Ecole School of Jewellery Arts. 

L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts Van Clef & Arpels Nicolas Bos

Why is jewelry education so crucial to Van Cleef & Arpels?

The world of jewelry is so rich and diverse – there is so much more to jewelry than what we see in store windows. And we are happy to share knowledge with people who are interested in learning. The second aspect is if I talk more from the brand perspective, if we want to be appreciated and understood, if we want to ensure that our visitors, clients, and collectors truly understand the differences in quality and craftsmanship, and identify a high-quality stones, we need to provide them with the tools to do so.  

As a brand, we feel it’s essential to talk to knowledgeable and educated clients. Whether they like our brand or not is their taste, but we want to engage in a conversation with them, and for that conversation to be meaningful, it’s important for them to know what they are looking at. 

What makes Dubai an ideal location for L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts?

Dubai, UAE, and the Middle East, in general, are very important to us. The tradition of decorative arts, applied arts, jewelry, and craftsmanship is extremely strong in the region. The translation of creativity, imagination, and inspiration into art is very much about decorative arts in the Middle East. 

Jewelry holds strong importance, especially in certain countries in the region, due to traditions of nomadism, where it served as portable art. It’s also about transmission within communities and families, reflecting cultural differences. There are many traditions in the region regarding jewelry, gold, and silver, with variations in style and symbolism depending on the period and culture.

There’s a commitment to developing craftsmanship and dialogue around it, particularly between international or Western European forms and local and regional ones. We felt this commitment from day one when we started activities in the region.

How do you plan to incorporate local crafts and artisans into the curriculum at L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts?

L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts Van Clef & Arpels Nicolas Bos

Yes, very much so. We already hosted some exhibitions and classes in collaboration with local artists and institutions. There was a project on pearls and the trade of pearls, which is very important, of course, for the region. We have also organized some contests and collaborations with Tashkeel and other institutions supporting craftsmen and designers.

With the network of schools that we have between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, including a school in Hong Kong and one in China, we want to expose artisans, collections, and styles to different regions.

What, according to you, is the Van Cleef & Arpels DNA, and how does it translate into the courses offered at L’ÉCOLE School of Jewellery Arts?

The elements of the Van Cleef & Arpels DNA that are very important to the school are creativity, craftsmanship, expertise, and attention to transmission.