By Maria Doulton
It is officially New Year in China and to celebrate the best of Chinese design, I look at some of my favourite jewellers from this country. The work of the following four designers is very different, but there is something about all of these jewels that is undeniably Chinese and a celebration of the culture and rich history of this vast nation.
Wallace Chan is making a name for himself as one of Asia's most daring and original artists, taking the art of jewellery to new heights. As much sculptures as jewels, Chan brings to the world his take on the magic and mystical allure of China.
Michelle Ong, founder of Carnet in Hong Kong, is a highly sophisticated jeweller who weaves magic from precious metals and stones. Precise and intuitive use of both volumes and colour, coupled with exquisite craftsmanship, are the hallmarks of her work. Delicate as a wisp of smoke or bold as a dragon, Ong's jewels are increasingly becoming collectors' items.
Wendy Yue brings the excitement of China into her jewels and tells a story like few others can. Yue packs a whole garden party, complete with miniature carved Chinese figures, diamond-set swans and pagodas, into a single bangle.
BaoBao Wan is one of the new young jewellers to watch. As daughter of the Chairman of the National People's Congress, Wan was brought up in the Presidential compound in Beijing, giving her a privileged insight into the culture of the times. Wan went to study in the USA, where she fused her Asian heritage with a Western education. "Every piece of my jewellery represents myself and a generation of Chinese women who are fragile, yet bold and crazy," explains Ms Wan. And that, I think, is an apt description of her work.
Exploding with colour and creativity, these jewels will provide a firework display to celebrate the New Year that will last well beyond the festivities.