Gems & Jewels: Historical to Contemporary

Course Description

The two-session programme offers an introduction to the rich and varied world of jewels and gemstones, from the past to the present day.
The first session will look at important gemstone discoveries and design movements of the last 150 years and their impact on the jewellery industry. These include the 19th century South African diamond rush and brief availability of the legendary Kashmir sapphires, as well as the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods and how the Maisons interpreted their styles in jewellery design. The second session will provide an introduction to the main gemstones and how these are valued according to their origin, beauty and rarity. The final stage will summarise the course by highlighting leading historical and contemporary jewellery designers. Participants in the course will gain a broader gemological knowledge, increase their awareness of major influences on jewellery design, and explore the histories of the leading Maisons. They will also have the chance to examine and handle vintage jewellery pieces and gemstones, talk to the jewelry designer Susana Martins and experience a tour of 55FIFTY7. Throughout the course images of key historical pieces from private collections, museums, dealers and auction houses will complement the lecture content.


Entry requirements

Good level of English language (no translation will be provided).
Previous art related experience or education is not required.

Lecturer: Sophie Stevens

Dates: 5th-6th November 2017

Day 1, Sunday, 5th November, 18.30 -  21.30 (3 hours including 1/2 hour break)

Day 2, Monday, 6th November, 18.30 -  21.30 (3 hours including 1/2 hour break)



Unit 402, Building 8 



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