Jewellery: Gemstones, Metal, Fashion, Film and Objets d’art

20 Jun 2022

The wait is finally over. We can now reveal that History of Jewellery Design: Part II will join our summer season of online courses with a launch date of 19 July 2022. This first edition is exclusively available for alumni of Vanessa Cron’s first course, History of Jewellery Design: 1880 to Now.

Discover inspirations behind jewellery design in the newest Christie’s Education online course, led by Vanessa Cron. In this six-module online course you will 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, see how the mixture of great creativity and inspirational family collaboration come together to give birth to the jewellery of Hemmerle, and how Scandinavian modernism as well as international designers were the source of ground-breaking silver jewels at Georg Jensen. You’ll meet historians, creative directors and family houses, and even see inside their workshops.



Beyond Tradition
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.
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.

Jewellery design extends far beyond the precious gemstones we looked at in the last module, and in this session you’ll discover the jewellery 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. That era saw the fashion for the archaeological revival, with ingenious houses like Castellani, and it 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, Art Smith, and Georg Jensen.

Precious Objects
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 as nécessaires, vanities, and toiletry sets; desk, gambling and smoking accessories; you will also learn about the two great houses of precious objects: Cartier and Fabergé.
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!



Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle tell us about the history of the family house, and how they 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.

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.

Andrew Prince is a jewellery historian and designer who has made jewellery for films and television, including many of the outstanding jewels worn in Downton Abbey. He brings together a deep historical understanding of how jewels were worn with extraordinary craftsmanship – and a wicked sense of humour. Read more about filming with Andrew here.
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. From guilloché enamel 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 gold nécessaire and the Duchess of Windsor’s tiger lorgnette. Enjoy every second spent being shown these incredible objects.

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. Read more about the Bulgari shoot here.
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.
An additional special feature will be announced. 


Learn more and register now for the September intake here 

Are you an Alumni of the History of Jewellery Design: 1880 to Now? The July intake is open exclusively to you, email to learn more. 

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