Discover inspirations behind jewellery design in this six-module online course led by Vanessa Cron. See how jewels have shone in fashion and film. Learn about gemstones, gold and silver jewellery and jewelled accessories. Explore jewellery houses like Boivin, Belperron and Fabergé, and spend time with Andrew Prince, the creator of Downton Abbey’s historical jewellery.
Included alongside your lectures, our documentary-style special features form an ever-more important part of your studies in Jewellery: Gemstones, Metal, Fashion, Film and Objets d’art. Each feature is longer and more in-depth than in the first course, which means that you get much closer to exceptional jewellery houses. Linger over the extraordinary jewelled objects of the Cartier historic collection, from Coco Chanel’s enamelled gold vanity case to the Duchess of Windsor’s famous tiger lorgnette. See how the mixture of great creativity and inspired family collaboration come together to give birth to the jewellery of Hemmerle, or see how Scandinavian modernism as well as international designers were the source of extraordinary silver jewels at Georg Jensen. You’ll meet historians, creative directors and family houses, and even see inside their workshops.
What you will learn:
You will learn about important gemstones, how they are measured and cut, and understand their use in jewellery throughout history.
You will gain an understanding of the use of metals in jewellery from antiquity to the present day.
You will see how jewellery craft extends to precious objects, with great houses making pieces for both use and decoration that incorporate the same skilful techniques as high jewellery.
You will learn about the importance of jewellery in fashion – from the Wiener Werkstätte jewels worn by Gustave Klimt’s partner and muse Emilie Flöge, to the extravagant and daring pieces made by Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen.
You will be introduced to jewellery designers and houses not included in History of Jewellery Design: 1880 to Now, such as Boivin and Belperron.
You will understand how jewellery has starred in theatre and film, and see how some directors favour innovative costume jewellery and some prefer real diamonds.
Across seven in-depth special features, you will be introduced to contemporary and historical jewellery houses and designers, understand their inspirations and craft, and see behind the scenes as jewellery is created.
Watch our trailer video for an overview of the course
Understand the history, meaning and use of gemstones. Learn about the natural origins of the most exquisite crystals in the world: how they are cut, how they are set, and how they have been treasured throughout history. Meet jewellers like Harry Winston and Laurence Graff, famous for the size and importance of the stones they collected and used in their creations. And find out more about the stories of organic gems like pearls and amber.
Bulgari Creative director for high jewellery, Lucia Silvestri, talks to us about her creative process, love of gemstones, and the history of the house. We also get hands-on with some mindblowing gems, as Lucia designs a necklace especially for Vanessa and describes how she can feel the quality of a stone just by touch, even when it’s sealed inside a package.
Jewellery design extends far beyond the precious gemstones we looked at in the last module, and in this session you’ll discover treasures from the ancient civilisations of Sumer and Troy, and delve deep into the exquisitely detailed gold jewellery of the Etruscans, made with techniques so complicated they couldn’t be reproduced until the nineteenth century. The 1800s saw the fashion for the archaeological revival, with ingenious houses like Castellani, and also saw a pride in the austere iron jewellery of Prussia, awarded to those patriots who donated their valuable jewels to help fight Napoleon. Today we see the house of Hemmerle exploring the highly desirable tension created when important diamonds are set in that base metal. You’ll also learn about the mid-twentieth century metal-jewellery artists like Alexander Calder and Art Smith.
Georg Jensen Meet Ida Heiberg Bøttiger, heritage manager, and Ragnar Hjartarson, creative director, as they explore the great Georg Jensen pieces of the twentieth century, and talk about the influence those designs still have today. A visit to the smithy lets us see how the famous silver is hammered into the curved organic forms that Jensen is so well known for.
Meet the creative minds behind some of the twentieth century’s most inspiring jewellery. Beginning with a second look at René Lalique, the module will introduce notable jewellery designers we weren’t able to cover in the first course: the house of Boivin, and Susanne Belperron.
Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle
Learn about the history of the family house, and how Christian and Yasmin collaborate as husband and wife to create some of the most exciting jewellery of today. Filmed at their Munich atelier, we learn about their use of non-traditional materials like wood and iron; the ancient artefacts, like Egyptian scarabs, they incorporate into their creations; and how rare and important gemstones lead the design of Hemmerle’s jewellery.
Fashion and Film Jewellery design on catwalk, stage and screen. From the jewels of Elsa Schiaparelli to Alexander McQueen, high fashion is an essential partner to high jewellery. In this module you will be taken on a journey through the jewellery of the great fashion houses, including Chanel, YSL and Dior. Then explore jewellery for performance, from the electric jewellery of the Victorian stage to jewels appearing in some of the most famous movies – sometimes in a starring role!
Andrew Princeis a jewellery historian and designer who has made jewellery for films and television, including many of the outstanding jewels worn in English period drama television series Downton Abbey. He brings together a deep historical understanding of how jewels were worn with extraordinary craftsmanship – and a wicked sense of humour.
The craftsmen at the best jewellery houses weren’t only making items to wear, they were also creating the most elegant functional objects – wrought from gold, platinum, diamonds, enamel and more. In this module you will learn about the history of jewelled objects, and go in-depth into twentieth-century accessories such asnécessaires, vanities, and toiletry sets; desk, gambling and smoking accessories; you will also learn about the two great houses of precious objects: Cartier and Fabergé.
Fabergé We’re introduced to Alexis Tiesenhausen, senior director of Russian Art, who’s worked with Fabergé at Christie’s for almost forty years. As well as discussing the history of the house and his own long experience of researching, cataloguing, and selling works; Alexis also brings along some examples of Fabergé to handle and describe in detail.
Cartier In an extra-long special feature we are treated to an in-depth personal tour of the finest jewelled accessories in the Cartier heritage collection, spanning the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Fromguillochéenamel and hardstone animals to onyx vanity cases with the most exceptional mother of pearl landscapes. From Randolph Churchill’s cigarette case in the form of a gold-envelope, to Coco Chanel’s enamelled goldnécessaireand the Duchess of Windsor’s tiger lorgnette. Enjoy every second spent with these incredible objects.
Shaun Leane Always a rebel, Shaun nevertheless spent thirteen formative years working as a classical goldsmith, creating high jewellery for the great houses of Bond Street. Everything changed when he meet Alexander McQueen, then a student at Central Saint Martin's, London. The two instantly bonded, and when McQueen began to develop his fashion shows, he called on Shaun to create the jewellery. Together they made some of the most iconic pieces of the 1990s and 2000s. In this revealing feature-length film, Shaun tells us about his life, the centrality of hard-won craft to everything he makes, and all about his friendship and work with Alexander 'Lee' McQueen.
Online courses are designed for students to study when it is most convenient for them. Our pre-recorded lectures are filmed with documentary-style production values, taking you on a narrative-led journey through your chosen subject.
Each module's lecture lasts for approximately one hour.
Our courses are arranged in modules, containing your lectures and special features. Each week, a new module will open for you to study, allowing you to explore the content at your own pace. Typically, our courses consist of six modules overall.
During your time on the course, your Tutor will provide:
Frequent art world announcements.
Opportunities to ask questions and request tutor guidance.
Tutor-initiated networking discussions with icebreaker questions and art world news.
Art History courses have optional written assignments with detailed and supportive individual feedback to help develop ideas and enrich analytical skills and understanding.
Art Business and Luxury courses have optional multiple-choice assignments to consolidate learning and track progress.
Handouts and English subtitles are provided to reinforce your learning.
Networking and knowledge-share opportunities with fellow online course participants and alumni.
You have three weeks after the course has finished to complete your assignments and discuss the course with your tutor.
All video lectures and course materials remain available to students for six months after assignments close.
If you complete all the assignments and complete the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Certificates are not available for self-directed courses.
Frequent livestreamed seminars for students and alumni on topics that span the art world. Seminars are led by alumni, your tutor, and art world professionals.
The course will require between two to three hours of study time per week. There will be further reading and weekly assignments.
The course is facilitated through an online learning environment that is compatible with most modern browsers. It is the responsibility of students to have the proper hardware and software required to participate, along with access to WiFi. The basic technical requirements can be found in the FAQs.
I absolutely LOVED the in-depth interviews that Vanessa conducted. They were both illuminating and also helped to "humanize" the artists and designers. I could really FEEL their passion for their work which in turn, was VERY inspiring to me, overall :)
All the special interviews are great. Well summarized the history, vision, and positioning of each brand. I can say an exceptional program was the one with Shaun Leane. His passion to manufacturing, friendship with Alexander McQueen, and storytelling makes the program something different from others. It added to the course a very strong emotional aspect regarding jewellery and pushed the course an excellent program.
The structure of the course is well organized and help me to understand each topic.
I liked the exclusive meetings and dialogue with different jewellery design houses and experts. Adding a Handout to the lessons was very helpful.
It was very interesting to listen to the different interviews with the interviewees’ own words and passion, life history. Feel and embrace their strong yearning of jewellery.
The in-depth information from different designers and jewellery houses is truly interesting. Truly inspiring to know how their process of creation of their “art pieces”.
I liked all. Vanessa's passion, her knowledge and her wishing to share it with us. And all the special features too.
I can only recommend everything about the Online Education. I am passionate about them, eager to learn more.