Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction scheduled for May 30 in Hong Kong is bringing together masterpieces created by world-renowned Chinese jewellery designers.
The auction house talked to Cindy Chao, Edmond Chin and Michelle Ong about their inspiration, creative processes and the passion they share for creating unique and highly collectible pieces.
Cindy Chao was born into an artistic family – her grandfather is a renowned Taiwanese temple architect and her father is a sculptor. It was her mother, however, who encouraged her to become a jewellery designer.
“My father passed on to me the ability to sculpt pieces with my hands, while my grandfather passed on his architectural perspective,” disclosed Chao. “This allows me to use a three-dimensional perspective to view pieces as miniature sculptures and architecture.”
Chao draws inspiration from travel, architecture and culture.
Rather than sketching her designs, she prefers a hand-sculpted wax mould that gives her more freedom to design. Her feather-inspired, fancy colour diamond and white diamond brooch, a highlight of the Spring Sale, is encrusted with 1,000 sparkling diamonds that were meticulously selected from 6,000 stones. Equally stunning are the “Snow Peas” ear pendants showcasing two Colombian emeralds of 29.49 and 26.81 carats, respectively.
Edmond Chin’s creative process begins with looking at gemstones and formulating designs by combining tradition, modernity and avant-garde styles.
Chin remembers accompanying his father to jewellery stores to pick out exquisite pieces for his mother. “I think I have always been destined to be a jewellery designer,” he said.
Noting that “art is an inspiration,” the designer frequently visits galleries and museums during his travels. Chin is also an antique jewellery collector.
This season, Chin is presenting three pieces that embody his distinctive style, including a pair of ruby and diamond ear pendants, a 3.37-carat fancy intense blue diamond ring, and a Colombian emerald and diamond “Palmette” necklace, set with 11 perfectly matched natural emeralds.
Michelle Ong returned to Hong Kong after graduating in Canada, and became a jewellery apprentice at the invitation of a friend. “I started designing jewellery for myself because I couldn’t find what I wanted, and because friends started to ask me to design for them. Here we are more than 25 years later.”
According to Ong, inspiration can come at any time. “I might see a fabulous cloud in the sky and recreate it in a diamond brooch, or a beautiful piece of blue and white porcelain, and restate it in shades of blue sapphires for a special cuff,” the designer revealed.
The Spring Sale in Hong Kong will feature a one-of-a-kind multi-gem necklace by Ong, a fancy colour diamond and white diamond brooch, and a 41.34-carat fancy brownish yellow diamond ring.