Top Luxury Jewelry Designers in Asia
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but these 5 jewellery designers in Asia are living proof that jewellery is so much more than just diamonds.
It’s also great to see Asian jewellery designers commanding so much attention in the luxury jewellery market because jewellery, being so personal, speaks to its wearer. What better way to make a statement than with a piece that is so closely knitted to the Asian heritage?
The next time you’re looking for a gift for mum, or better still, a piece to kickstart your collection with, consider these 5 Asian jewellery designers that will make you the envy of the ball:
1. Amee Philips
Amee Philips is a Malaysian-born designer who started off in the trade by chance. While living in Europe, she would send back tumbled gemstones to her mother in Penang, who sold it to her friends. This spurred Amee to start her gemstone wholesale business in the island city before branching out into her own brand. As she expanded, her gemstone jewellery caught the eye of Malaysian fashion designer Zang Toi and they collaborated for New York Fashion Week. Amee is also known for her patented V-clip, an invention that allows for her jewellery to be versatile, switching from pendant to earrings and back with a simple mechanism. Her latest collection, Forget Me Not, draws its inspiration from the blue flower and features subtle and romantic designs, a vast difference from her stronger collections like Conqueror and Phoenix.
2. Wallace Chan
The Hong Kong Chinese artisan designer’s pieces speak volumes of his heritage, often embodying oriental elements. Wallace, originally a sculptor, got his big break when he was commissioned to create a stupa in Taiwan. When he branched into jewellery, he became the first contemporary jeweller to do a solo exhibit at the Capital Museum in Beijing and he was also the first Asian jeweller to exhibit at the Biennale de Paris, putting Asian jewellers on the map. One of these most famous pieces, the Great Wall necklace, made of diamond and jadeite, sold for US$73.5 mil in 2012.
3. Zhaoyi Jade
Jade is one of the most used stones in the Asian jewellery trade but is often seen to be traditional. Zhaoyi Jade hopes to change that as a luxury Chinese jade jewellery brand, integrating its designs with karat gold, unusual collared diamonds and valuable stones. The name “Zhaoyi” originated from the ancient Chinese Palace of the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 9 AD). In Chinese, “Zhao” means “illuminating” or “being bright,” while “Yi” means “etiquette.” These concepts are also the core of the Chinese gold-jade culture. Zhaoyi Jade has already established a strong presence in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. It also made its debut at Baselworld in 2015.
4. Poonam Soni
To Poonam Soni, creating jewellery is a form of art. As India’s first local luxury design jewelry brand, founder Poonam Soni pioneered the industry with her bespoke jewelry line catering to a niche clientele. Each piece of jewellery designed by Poonam Soni stands out as a statement. Her designs tend to have a subtle nod to something nature-inspired. Her contemporary jewellery easily stands out in India, where much of the jewellery is still strongly embedded in tradition.
5. Anna Hu
The daughter of a famous diamond dealer, Anna was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. But she started off pursuing cello-playing as her first love. It was only after a shoulder injury that prevented her from becoming a professional musician that she took up jewellery making full-time. She trained at the Gemological Institute of America and later went on to exhibit her work for top jewelry businesses, including Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels. She then opened her own brand Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie in 2007.