LOUVRE MUSEUM: ‘‘THE FRENCH CROWN JEWELS’’
L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts dedicates its first Master Class to the French Crown Jewels. At the crossroads of art history, gemmology, and technical expertise, the subject will be approached in a broad and transversal manner.
L’ÉCOLE’s teachers and a Louvre curator will reveal to the students the extraordinary destiny of the Crown Jewels, the splendor of the assembled gems and the savoir-faire used to produce the jewelry.
The master class is open to a single group of twenty students (maximum) in order to facilitate exchange and feedback, and allow participants to benefit from the Louvre experience in the best possible conditions.
The master class will take place over two days: Monday at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts (courses and workshops), and Tuesday at the Louvre, viewing diverse jewels and decorative arts. Students will have the privilege of visiting the Louvre on the day it is closed to the general public.
They can therefore enjoy an exclusive moment with the art objects, under the guidance of the teachers and one curator from the Louvre.
THEME OF THE MASTER CLASS
A collection begun by François I during the Renaissance, the French Crown Jewels incarnated a unique and fascinating destiny.
In 1530, François I selected eight precious stones and jewels, which he declared inalienable. These jewels came partly from the former royal collection of Brittany, passed down from the Duchess Anne to her daughter Claude, wife of François I. Among these eight priceless jewels were the Pointe-de-Bretagne Diamond and the Côte-de-Bretagne Red Spinel. Now separated from the royal family’s personal jewelry collection, these stones belonged to the institution that was the monarchy rather than to the personal collection of the sovereign. This dramatic innovation and legal change inspired other European monarchies to do the same.
The successors of François I gradually added to the collection and on the eve of the Revolution, it consisted of approximately 10,000 gemstones and pearls. Stolen from the Royal Treasury (Garde-Meuble Royal) in 1792, the jewels were partly recovered a few years later. More were found in the nineteenth century. However, the Crown Jewels were ultimately sold off by the Third Republic at a public auction in 1887.
Since then, the Louvre has worked to reconstitute the collection, thanks to acquisitions and donations. The collection is now presented at the Apollo Gallery in the Louvre. The history of the Crown Jewels has been inextricably linked to the history of France for almost five centuries. Both reflect the upheavals—wars, economic hardships—but also more festive and splendid ceremonial periods and events such as the coronations of the French kings.
The Crown Jewels not only bear witness to a historical epic, they also boast great gemological value and testify to the excellence of French savoir-faire in the lapidary and jewelry-making professions. Most of all, the Crown Jewels are examples of some of the most beautiful jewelry creations ever made.
Today, these jewels are of inestimable patrimonial and cultural value, hence their presentation in the Apollo Gallery of the Louvre, at the heart of the former palace of the Kings of France and symbol of monarchical power.
The two-day master class will focus on various aspects relating to the Crown Jewels and their past: art history, gemology and technical expertise.
DAY ONE (MONDAY): L’ÉCOLE, SCHOOL OF JEWELRY ARTS
8.45am-9am Student reception gathering to meet each other
9.15am-9.30am Introduction: from gemstones to the Crown Jewels of France
9.30am-11am From François I to the dispersion of the Crown Jewels in 1887, a turbulent history
11.20am-12pm Discovery of the reconstitution of the twenty most beautiful diamonds sold in 1668 by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier to the French king Louis XIV
12pm-1pm A Crown Jewels World Tour
1pm-2.30pm Buffet lunch
2.30pm-3.30pm The Crown Jewels Gemstones
3.30pm-4.10pm The Diamond, King of Stones, the Stone of Kings
4.30pm-5.30pm Introduction to diamonds and colored stones in the gemology workshop
5.30pm-6.30pm Introduction to stone-cutting in half groups in the lapidary worskhop
DAY TWO (TUESDAY): LOUVRE MUSEUM
8.45am-9am Students meet at L’ÉCOLE
9am-10am The reconstitution of the Crown Jewels Collection by the Louvre Museum
10am-10.30am Walk to the Louvre
10am-10.30am Visit to the Apollo Gallery and discovery of the French Crown Jewels Collection
12pm-2pm Lunch on-site
2pm-3pm Visit to Napoleon III’s private apartments
3pm-4pm Continuation of the visit of the Apollo Gallery and the Crown Jewels Collection
Dates : March 2 & 3, 2020 / Price : 1200 € / 20 participants max
L’ÉCOLE, SCHOOL OF JEWELRY ARTS
L’ÉCOLE offers courses in three main fields (history of jewelry, the universe of gemstones, and savoir-faire), and it also organizes talks, publishes books and catalogs and regularly holds exhibitions in Paris and abroad. It also offers other activities, such as creative workshops for children and teenagers, and meetings with writers and exhibition curators.
Around twenty classes are taught each month in French, English or Chinese on its two permanent campuses in Paris and Hong Kong by around fifty teachers, art historians, gemologists, jewelers and craftsmen. Classes last from two to four hours, and are taught by two teachers to groups of six to twelve students, in order to offer optimum learning conditions as well as to encourage conviviality, dialogue and sharing. The program is à la carte and each student is free to choose one or more classes depending on their interests and curiosity.