Paris, France — High jewelry making all starts with art, as an exhibition being held in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Joaillerie (The School of Jewelry Arts) which is supported by the house of Van Cleef & Arpels, reveals. The show, entitled Designing Jewels, brings together some 60 highly detailed drawings for major Parisian jewelry houses for extremely complex pieces of high jewelry and underscores the essential role the drawing plays in the process.
The works, in and of themselves works of art even when simply created in pencil on paper, emanate from the Van Cleef & Arpels Foundation for Jewelry Culture which is a research and educational tool. The works on display range from 1760 until World War I. Drawings are very fragile pieces of art works and this ensemble is being shown to the public for the first time. So if you can’t be in Paris right now, The Gourmet Gazette brings the show to you.
From the 16th to the 17th centuries Parisian jewelers had to use precious gemstones that had already been cut and polished and so they embarked upon the creation of frames to place them in and therein lies the origin of the drawing for jewelry making. Pencils, watercolors, ink and gouache were all used in the fashioning of these drawings, be they made from paper, colored, white and even tracing paper. Their single most important aspect was scale.
Tiaras, a main stay of royalty, are abundant in the show with seizing drawings by René Lalique who was trained as both a jeweler and an artist. There is a scintillating pair of drawings, circa 1911, by the Atelier Brédillard-Hatot for a pendant watch. While another drawing by Léon Hatot offers a sublime peacock, one of the most emblematic symbols in 19th century jewelry.
The Ecole des Arts Joailliers is offering three different classes about drawing for jewelry in parallel to the exhibition. The pioneering institution which offers courses in gemology and the history and know-how in jewelry making, conferences and two free exhibitions each year is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2022.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
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