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Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2002)

Vol.1 2002

Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition

Creations Weave A Cultural Blend

Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition

Creations Weave A Cultural Blend

Solid and waving elements represent tree trunks and branches in Eva Shiu Siu Wah's Weeping Willow earrings.
THE idea of "East Meets West" and integrating diverse cultures provided a theme for the 3rd Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition. Three designs winning Best of Show Awards succeeded by combining Asian sensibilities with Western design styles. All three came from Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co Ltd.

The Best of Show winners featured here excelled among 105 entries in nine categories. Choosing the winners was a panel of six judges, including jewellery designer Alan Tam, fashion designers Benny Yeung and Judy Mann, Lavin Lam of the Diamond Promotion Service, Emily Li of the World Gold Council and Caroline Roberts of Loewe Hong Kong Ltd.

All winning pieces go on display to visitors at the Hong Kong Int'l Jewellery Show from February 27 to March 2 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council organized the competition. Sponsoring it were the Hong Kong Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Assn, the Hong Kong Jewelry Mfrs' Assn, the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Mfrs Assn and the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China.

VETERAN designer Eva Shiu Siu Wah scooped two top prizes with a winning necklace entitled Well-Spring of Waters and earrings entitled Weeping Willow.

Well-Spring of Waters was the best among bracelets and necklaces in the HK$50,001-100,000 (US$6,410-12,840) retail-price category.

Made from 533 grams of 18K white gold, the winning necklace represents hard and soft elements in its simulation of rocks and water. "My inspiration came from how a river winds through a Chinese village, how it changes the shape of the land while flowing downstream," says Shiu.

The collar has a hollow column of gold twisted to fit snugly. Bundles of beaded Italian-made chains, tipped by marquise-shaped droplets, hang from the ends. "The collar represents rocks and the chains symbolize water," Shiu says.

Although the idea reflects traditional Chinese life, the design is achieved in terms of Western jewellery. Sketching the design took three days. Then craftsmen spent one month producing the piece. "Twisting the column was difficult because the section resting on the back of the neck is thinner than the sides and front," Shiu says.

The necklace offers textural contrasts and suits a trend toward lighter-weight jewellery pieces with loose, moving parts.

Rivers meandering through Chinese villages inspired Well-Spring of Waters, the winning necklace by Eva Shiu Siu Wah.

SHIU'S earring design, a winner in a category for retail prices below HK$30,000 (US$3,846), was designed simultaneously with the necklace and arose from the same concept of a traditional Chinese village. "Sometimes you see lines of weeping-willow trees along river banks on the Chinese mainland," the designer says.

Tree trunks are symbolized by a row of nine diamonds on each earring. The 18 diamonds weigh a total of one carat. The branches, which swing easily when worn (like those of the trees), are fashioned from 18K white-gold beaded Italian chains.

One challenge was deciding how to hold the rows of diamonds securely in place. "We had a back plate anchored by a single post through the ear. The weight of each 'branch' had to be progressively lighter so gravity would be greatest at the bottom and lightest at the top. We also used a convex/concave structure so the back plate would fit into ear folds without slipping off," Shiu says.

Both the necklace and earrings suit special occasions like banquets or balls.

Before starting to design jewellery 14 years ago, Shiu studied as a graphic designer and worked for five years in the advertising industry. She discovered jewellery design through friends. "I liked the idea of designing jewellery because so many details need attention," she recalls.

During her 10 years with Chow Tai Fook, Shiu has won numerous design prizes, including a gold award in last year's 3rd Int'l South Sea Pearl Jewellery Design Competition. She was a finalist in necklace and earring categories of the 2nd Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition.

Espousing simplicity as a credo, Shiu says her favourite materials are gold, silver and diamonds. "Happy and surprised" at winning two awards in a single competition, she now sets her sights on future design events.

Earrings by May Chu Shuk Mei symbolize cultural interaction using hard and soft elements, movement and frames that diverge, yet meet.
MAY Chu Shuk Mei, one of Shiu's colleagues at Chow Tai Fook, succeeded in the HK$30,001-60,000 (US$3,846-7,692) retail category with a pair of earrings entitled Attractive.

Like Shiu's creations, these earrings blend hard and soft elements with movement. The 10cm long, marquise-shaped frames are made of 18K white gold set with a blaze of pavé diamonds weighing 3.65 carats. Dangling from the middle of each earring are two briolette-cut diamonds on 18K white-gold beaded Italian chains. The four diamonds weigh a total of 3.5 carats.

"The two different materials - gold and diamonds - represent two cultures. The marquise shape shows the two poles of East and West," Chu says.

Each earring has two marquise-shaped frames joined at the middle and flaring at the ends. This conveys the idea that cultures can meet at some point, despite their differences.

The centre section of the earrings is crucial. "That is where the movement is. If that element was excluded, the design would be too hard. With it, there is a contrast between hard and soft, strong and graceful," Chu says.

She did the basic design in only three hours, but devoted one month to working on production and fine-tuning the details.

Since training at the Lee Wai Lee Technical Institute, Chu has designed for 15 years. "My first job before becoming a designer was in a bank. I worked as a teller by day and studied at night. Initially, I wanted to learn design simply because it was something interesting. Then I made it my career," she says.

Choice of materials depends less on personal preference than on shapes and styles of the concept she has in mind. "I like simple, straightforward styles because they make stronger statements," she says.

Chu was thrilled to win the competition. "It is a big break for me," she says. Buoyed by the recognition, she intends to enter more competitions.


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