Savoir Faire Visit to Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels for the Global MBA Luxury Brand Management participants

One of the great aspects of the ESSEC GMBA-Luxury Brand Management program are the savoir-faire visits with different luxury brands throughout Paris. As part of our first field trip in the Luxury track, we visited the heart of high jewelry in Paris – L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels at Place Vendome.

The Global MBA Luxury Brand Management participants at Place Vendome
during their visit to L'Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels.

The visit consisted of a workshop where the students were able to experience the craftsmanship of four jewelry techniques used by Van Cleef & Arpels: wax work, metal work, bead diamond setting, and polishing. The students were even given their own wax carvings as souvenirs by the end of the trip. In addition, we also received in-house education regarding the different types of diamond settings, including the trademarked “The Mystery Setting” of Van Cleef & Arpels. For any prospective students interested in fine jewelry making and craftsmanship, this is the ideal program. It was an invaluable moment to experience how the real apprentices and jewelry artists of Van Cleef & Arpels operate and work.

Us wide eyed and excited Luxury Track students then proceeded to attend a lecture on Art Nouveau and Jewelry. But not without some refreshments, coffee and tea. After getting us refreshed, this extraordinary lecture started on the history of Europe in general, and evolution of jewelry and design juxtaposed against this history in particular.

We were first told about the Belle Epoque period and how Art Nouveau originated during this period of French history. This was the period that became the melting pot of different styles. During this time, Japan emerged as the gateway to East Asian aesthetics in Art Nouveau. We were told about S. Bing who brought Japanese art aesthetics to Paris. Not only that, the Professors were kind enough to show us some of the original editions of these Japanese design books that dated to late 19th century, and still had Japanese art illustrations quite intact. That kind of became the highlight of our lecture, as we excitedly took pictures of the illustrations in these books.

We were also told about Art Deco period, and were shown replicas of the diamonds got by Jean Baptiste Tavernier to the court of Louis XIV. Upon enquiring more about the diamonds and the Hope Diamond, we were gifted a book from their library on the ‘Fabulous Destinies  of Tavernier’s Diamonds’ by the end of our lecture. 

This lecture served as a window to another era of jewelry and design, and the fact that we were at L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels in the heart of Place Vendome, simply acted as the perfect backdrop to our day. We returned grateful to ESSEC Business School for this opportunity and to L’Ecole for providing us such an extraordinary day of learning. Ultimately, this is a program that only the ESSEC GMBA-Luxury Brand Management major could have offered due to its history and partnerships with various programs around France, specializing in the French know-how regarding luxury.

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