The latest cultural offer from L’ÉCOLE’s second permanent school in the world features comprehensive educational activities to open the once-secret world of jewelry up to audiences in Asia through courses, talks and a newly curated immersive exhibition
Through this exhibition co-curated by Olivier Segura, gemologist and Scientific Director at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts and Billie Hughes, gemologist at Lotus Gemology and award-winning photographer, visitors will be able to embark on a journey of discovery and see rubies and sapphires like never before. During the journey one of the many fascinating things they will learn include the fact that these two precious stones are both scientifically of the same mineral “Corundum”, and both have a similar chemical composition and structure. What leads to a brilliant red ruby or the many colors of sapphires is completely determined by trace amounts of chemical elements found within the gemstone.
The interactive exhibition will feature photomicrographic images taken by Billie Hughes and will allow visitors to take a closer look at the natural birthmarks - “inclusions” of these minerals. The unique captures of the rainbow-like halos in the Burmese ruby, frosty snowball like crystals in the Madagascar sapphire, or even star-like patterns glowing from within the trapiche ruby are much more than just beautiful imagery: the solid inclusions and trapped cavities also provide important clues to each gemstone’s place of origin, natural or synthetic composition, or even treatments and enhancements it has undergone. Through Hughes' work, visitors can explore the microscopic depths and be dazzled by the inner and secret life of gemstones.
To illustrate the marriage between these nature’s gifts and human creativity, the exquisite photo exhibition will be accompanied by rubies and sapphires in their natural geological form – as minerals – and in their faceted form as well as High Jewelry creations signed by several jewelry Houses. As part of the guided tours, L’ÉCOLE’s dedicated exhibition docents will be showing visitors how to search for geological clues within the gemstones through the naked eye and gemology tools such as the loupe and the microscope, as well as show how the gemstones can be transformed by highly skilled stones-cutters, then set into beautiful pieces through jewelry and stones-setting craftsmanship. The exhibition will be free admission to the public, with guided tours in English, Cantonese and Mandarin available with online pre-registration.
“Gemstones are often celebrated for their aesthetic beauty and vibrant colors. However, we want people to think beyond this – before being able to appreciate these faceted gemstones set on a jewel, we find them in their ‘raw’ form where they have not undergone any human intervention except the extraction from their mother rock. These ‘roughs’ bear witness to the history of the Earth and the upheaval of the Nature. Through this exhibition, we want to invite everyone – from the casual observer and the true aficionado of jewelry arts – to be able to discover, learn and immerse themselves into gemstones from a range of perspectives,” explained Olivier Segura, Gemologist and Scientific Director at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts.
“I see gemology as the perfect conjunction of the arts and sciences because a lot of the scientific work that we do as gemologists are in service of the artistic and aesthetic appreciation of gemstones. While my photomicrography does rely heavily on professional microscopes, cameras and the manipulation of light to capture, the wonderful thing is that the naked eye still remains the first and most important tool to appreciate gemstones. I hope this exhibition will bring the community to everyone to L’ÉCOLE so they can see and experience the magic of gemstones for themselves, and then discover the whole other world that exists within each of them,” said Billie Hughes, Gemologist at Lotus Gemology.
Open all year round, L’ÉCOLE Asia Pacific offers courses in three major fields: Savoir Faire (craftsmanship) of jewelry-making techniques, Universe of Gemstones, and Art History of Jewelry. Those keen to go further to discover why gemstones are so unique, can explore the program of Gemology classes which can be taken on an à la carte basis. “Discover the Gemstones” will have students looking at the origin of gemstones, including their great variety and the different techniques used to extract and collect them; while “Recognize the Gemstones” will equip students will the skills to distinguish different gemstones with the naked eye and with the help of professional instruments. There is also a two-part course dedicated to the most precious gemstones of them all: diamonds, including the history and legends, as well as the science and gemology. To find out more or register for L’ÉCOLE Asia Pacific Courses and “Discover the Gemstones, Ruby & Sapphire” Exhibition, please visit https://www.lecolevancleefarpels.com/hk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to Editor
Exhibition Title: Discover the Gemstones, Ruby & Sapphire
Co-Curators: Olivier Segura, Billie Hughes
With the contribution of Dr. Miro Ng, Gemologist and Professor at L’ECOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, Founder and President at Centre for Gemological Research
Exhibition presented by L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts supported by Van Cleef & Arpels
Address: L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, Unit 510A, 5F, K11 MUSEA, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Dates of the exhibition: June 10, 2020 – September 30, 2020
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 12pm – 7pm
Free admission: Exhibition with free guided tours in English, Cantonese or Mandarin according to specific time slots. Online registration is required.
About L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts
L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts was established in 2012 in Place Vendôme, Paris, with the support of High Jewelry Maison Van Cleef & Arpels and opened its second permanent location in K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong in November 2019. It is the first education initiative to invite everyone from the general public to connoisseurs to explore the world of jewelry arts. In addition to providing courses throughout the year at the permanent Paris and Hong Kong locations, L’ÉCOLE has expanded its educational programs worldwide with travelling editions featuring special courses, talks, publications and exhibitions in cities such as Tokyo, New York and Dubai. L’ÉCOLE carries several research projects and partnerships with museums and academic institutions, including Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), The Comédie-Française Museum (Paris),École Boulle, École supérieure des Arts Appliqués et du Design (Paris) but also Liang Yi museum (Hong Kong). It also offers online educational videos and a library specialized in jewelry arts.
About Olivier Segura
Olivier Segura is the Scientific Director of L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, supported by Van Cleef & Arpels. He has a unique academic and professional background, blending diverse skills, each of which have contributed to his success in the gem and jewelry field. He holds two degrees from Paris University, an MSc in Biology and Geology and a Master’s degree in Marketing and Communications; a Graduate Gemologist (GG) certification from GIA; a DUG from Nantes University on the orange luminescence of gem corundum (2012) and field experience in various parts of the world, including extensive time in Burma, deepening his knowledge of gem markets and developing relationships with key people at important mining operations. From 2011 to 2018, Segura was Director of the LFG (French Gemological Laboratory) based in Paris – France – and he has focused his skills on raising the professional standards of the laboratory to new heights, expanding staff, adding more sophisticated instrumentation, and managing a team of gemologists working on diamonds, colored gemstones and pearl testing. He also developed a School of gemology and welcomed many students every year. He regularly takes part in conferences and is a featured lecturer on a variety of gemological topics. Segura is also involved in various international organizations as a French delegate for CIBJO and Vice president of the CIBJO Pearl Commission; Member of the RJC communication committee; and French representative for the ISO jewelry standards.
About Billie Hughes
E. Billie Hughes visited her first gem mine in Thailand at age two. A 2011 graduate of UCLA, she qualified as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in 2013. To date she has visited scores of countries for research on gems, including most of the major ruby and sapphire deposits in the world. Billie’s photographic work has been published in Terra Spinel, the Wall Street Journal, Ruby & Sapphire: A Collector’s Guide, Ruby & Sapphire: A Gemologist’s Guide, and Inside Out. Her gemological images and photomicrographs have appeared in Gems & Gemology, the Gemguide, the Journal of the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong and InColor magazine. She is a talented photomicrographer and has won prizes from the Nikon Small World, Gem-A, Clemson University, and Close-Up Photographer of the Year competitions. Billie is currently a gemologist and co-founder of Lotus Gemology laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand.