Program of classes 2024
Free Form Artists, training workshop in Montreux




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These classes are conducted in 3 three languages. The class documents are available in English, French and German. This program is your key to a successful gem and jewelry career. Find out how you can become recognized as a qualified professional in a colorful and exiting world. The classes are very intense and you may add one or two weeks of benchtime to complete your training. A WLAN access point is available free of charge for our students.
Educational projects for beginners.
Educational projects for advanced jewellers and lapidaries.
Intensive 1 - 3 day classes May 2024 August - Sep. 2024 Feb. - March 2025
Jewelry CHF 730.- 26 - 27 - 28 Aug.
Stone setting CHF 500.- 29 - 30 Aug.
Wax modeling CHF 250.- 5 September
Casting techniquesCHF 510.- 6 - 7 September
Jewelry design CHF 220.- 9 September
Gemology CHF 540.- 3 - 4 September
Free Form CHF 300.- 2 September
class documents also available
in Spanish and Portuguese
CHF 400.- 19 - 20 August
21 - 22 August
Concave faceting CHF 400.- 23 - 24 August
The complete program 21st Aug. - 9th Sept. 2024
CHF 3'850.-

Intensive 5 day classes June 2024 November 2024 Feb. - March 2025
Faceting class CHF 800.- 3 - 7 June 4 - 8 Nov.
Concave faceting CHF 800.- 10 - 14 June 11 - 15 Nov.
Gemology CHF 800.- 18 - 22 Nov.
All 3 modules 4th - 22nd November 2024
CHF 2'100.-

Gemstone Safari in Tanzania during 17 days.
Visit the Umba valley and dig for rubies and sapphires, emeralds in Manyara, sunstone and spinel in Morogoro. Optional - learn how to cut the gems you have found in a 3 day Lapidary class.

New - Ruby-Zoisite jewelry class in Tanzania during 8 days.
A jewelry course in teamwork with Maasai ladies in the ruby-zoisite mine of Mundarara Tanzania. Tools and materials are provided on site. The gems are offered by the mine owner. This unique collaboration explores the unknown. Jewellers, designers, gold-silver smiths, gem cutters, artists, explorers. . . . etc. are cordially welcome. The jewelry you create is yours to keep.

New - Cutting and carving Jade a workshop organized in Switzerland during 6 days.
With a visit of the jade deposit in the Swiss mountains, followed by an introduction to cabochon cutting and carving of jade. Two experts will introduce you to the techniques and secrets of the trade. All stones you cut or find are yours to keep. Professional equipment for carving and cutting jade is at your disposal.

We look forward welcoming you as a new student and
watching your career, and life, develop to full potential.
"Your inspiration remains with me" by Simon Zaletel

Sister workshops around the world
The network of our past students, master crafts-men and -wimen today, teaching in their own workshops are located in : Tanzania, Columbia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Iran, France, DRC congo, Somaliland . . . . .

"The secrecy in the gem and jewelry business is exactly the reason why I started to teach. It is very hard to learn if nobody is willing to share. If something is missing you need to become ( or turn yourself into ) what is missing. One day you will teach in your own country and make all the difference. Sharing and the concept of paying it forward is a joyful way into a different future."

You are cordially invited to participate.
Hubert Heldner

Lodging in Montreux

Foreign nationals need valid travel documents, recognised by Swiss authorities, to visit Switzerland. In certain cases, a visa is also required.

The classes are intense and available as independent modules. Choose the themes you desire or follow the complete program. The classes are limited from 3 - 6 students depending the theme.

Main objective of all classes is the technical background, the correct manipulation of the tools and the security in the workshop. The intense training is supposed to allow you to express yourself artistically with the new acquired knowledge and allows living up to the high expectances of professional workmanship. Experience and creativity can't be taught, but their importance is acknowledged and will be stimulated especially.

The 3 week long cycle is a very intense initiation. To accumulate experience will be your homework.

It is possible to rent Benchtime and accede to the fully equipped atelier or to train the newly acquired skills in an other jewelry workshop.

The group of FREE FORM ARTISTS is strongly engaged in adult education and their member's work as independent artists in the lapidary and jewelry field. Both professions interact positively.

Since 1993, the two initiators Katerina Kestemont and Hubert Heldner built a complete program of classes. Today Hubert Heldner teaches 10 different themes, in 3 cycles per year, each cycle lasting 3 weeks. The classes are offered in 3 languages and all class documentations are available in English, German and French.


We were selected amongst the 100 best adresses for creative classes in europe. Publication by the journal COUNTRY in Hamburg. Edition 2/2000 fall-winter

Katerina Kestemont received a honorable mention in 1996 at the international contest of the INNUNG DER EDELSTEIN GRAVEURE of Idar-Oberstein, Germany.

Hubert Heldner is one of the three winners of the first " Swiss Jewelry Design Contest " in September 2002 by the edition TRES OR and is in the possession of a certificat of capacity as a jeweller of the Swiss Confederation in 1985 / Curriculum Vitae

Hubert Heldner signs responsible for the sucessful installation of a lapidary training workshop in Tanzania, at the Southern and Eastern African Mineral Centre (SEAMIC) headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam. November 2005. Including the training of 5 lapidary instructors. The center has been renamed to African Minerals and Geosciences Centre (AMGC) in 2015.

Organization of several Gemstone Safari's in Tanzania in collaboration with Mr. Nakara Steven Matemu a geologist, cristallograph, mineralogist and gemmologist, since September 2007 until today.

One month assignment to design a new jewelry collection for Kirmena Gold in Cairo Egypt, June 2008.

Technical assistance for the lapidary and jewelry training workshop of Miss Noreen Masaki Lapidary Training Centre - Dar-es-Salaam since September 2012.

Hubert Heldner signs responsible for the sucessful installation of a lapidary training workshop in Tanzania, at Shinyanga Vocational Training Center (VETA) November 2015. In house training in Shinyanga, was provided by Mrs Noreen Maskai director of the Lapidary training Centre. Two instructors have completed the training with sucess in February 2017. The first class in gemstone cutting and gemology began in March 2017.

Technical assistance to SIFODI (Service International pour la Formation et le Développement Intégral), founded by one of our students in 2019. Five instructors have completed the 10 week training with sucess in August 2019 at our sister-workshop in Tanzania. 04/09/2019 - - - Elles passent de l'horreur aux pierres précieuses . 29/07/2019 - - - Des femmes d’Afrique formées sur la taille des pierres précieuses.

Technical assistance for the lapidary and jewelry training workshop of Dr. Mukwege Foundation - Bukavu DRC Congo since June 2019. Two recently trained instructors where hired. Classes in gemstone cutting and jewelry manufacturing began in DRC Congo by mid 2020. The further training of the two instructors is maintained on a regular basis.

Training of the lapidary Setiel Masaki from Tanzania as goldsmith for 9 months, from March 1st to the end of November 2020. Today he heads the Lapidary Training Center LTC in Dar-es-Salaam.
This was made possible with the involuntary but friendly cooperation of covid-19, flight cancellations and the Service de la population Division Etrangers Lausanne, which extended the Visa 3 times.