With keen perceptions, the ability to translate delicate emotions and a deep sense of culture, Chinese females have risen as a powerful force in the 21st century’s development of global jewelry design. The women you’re about to meet all excel at creating modern interpretations of Chinese elements and traditional images using their passions for natural diamonds.
Born in Hong Kong, Wendy Yue has no professional training in jewelry design. In her youth, she studied in Vienna and traveled to various places in Europe, expanding her horizons along the way, and creating inspiration through sketches and drawings.
Wendy Yue founded Diamond Tree Studio in 1998 and began to provide design solutions for well-known diamond jewelers such as Lydia Courteille and Tse Ruilin. Her own eponymous jewelry brand was established in 2008 and is especially favored by international celebrities including Katy Perry, Rihanna and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Wendy Yue is full of curiosity and nature; themes including wild animals, flora and marine life can be seen in her designs. Her diamonds jewelry also integrates various cultural elements, such as Egyptian pharaohs, oriental Buddha statues, Italian opera and European Renaissance.
Bold uses of natural diamonds and gemstones makes Wendy Yue’s designs truly whimsical. A single piece of jewelry can use up to more than 20 colored gemstones alongside diamonds to create a color-coordinated and visually striking picture.
Cindy Chao was born into a family of artists in Taiwan, China. Since her childhood, she has been exposed to the three dimensional hand-painted architectural drawings of the Han family palace created by her grandfather, as well as her father’s sculpture techniques. By laying the foundation for her brand’s original 360 degree mosaic technique, her designs incapsulate an architect’s thinking and a sculptor’s craftsmanship.
In 2004, Cindy Chao established CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel, a jewelry brand of the same name. Her pieces are enjoyed by collectors all over the world and her collections have been shown at The Natural History Museum, the Paris Antiques Biennale and the TEFAF Maastricht Art Fair.
“Butterfly” is the most iconic theme of Cindy Chao’s creation. Since 2008, nearly ten annual butterfly brooches have been presented. Natural diamonds are of course the protagonists in all her designs. The magnificent ten carat red diamond inlays form the body of the butterfly; the slender veins on the butterfly wings are laid out; the irregular rough diamond slices are inlaid in the center of the wings, like lifelike laminoplasty, exuding vitality.
Taiwanese designer Anna Hu was born into a family of gem dealers. She studied gemstone identification at the Gemological Institute of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design and Columbia University. During her tenure at renowned jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston, Anna Hu gradually became familiar with the process of gemstone sourcing, jewelry design and setting, which laid the foundation for her career as an independent designer.
In 2007, Anna Hu founded Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie, a jewelry brand of the same name, and opened a brand flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Her works emerged at Christie’s jewelry auctions and gradually became favored by celebrities and collectors.
Anna Hu learned to play the cello since she was a child, and music has thus become an important inspiration of her creations. The most representative Dunhuang Pipa necklace is inspired by the pipa music in the frescoes of the Mogao Grottoes, imitating the pipa body and the streamers worn by the musicians. Particularly eye-catching is the Fancy Intense Yellow diamond weighing 100.02 carats, an ingenious structure that can also be converted into a brooch.
The natural elements of oriental culture are also an important inspiration for Anna Hu: the Leaping Koi brooch creates a vivid “koi”, the Mandarin Oriental Ducks brooch shows a pair of “mandarin ducks” and the Blue Magpie brooch reproduces the Qing Dynasty painter Lang Shining. In the painting of magpie flowers and birds, the colorful treasures and natural diamonds are scattered inlaid, creating an aesthetic mood full of natural flavor.
Michelle Ong was born into a family of doctors in Hong Kong and studied sociology at the University of Toronto. After graduating and returning to China, Michelle Ong began to set foot in the field of jewelry design at the suggestion of a family friend, and in 1998, she co-founded the Carnet high jewelry brand with Israeli diamond dealer Avi Nagar.
Influenced by antique jewelry and European art, Michelle Ong is especially good at expressing decorative patterns such as fabrics, lace and tulle in jewelry. Her works are elegant and full of femininity and are especially favored by high society and well-known figures. You may have seen her custom pieces in the 2018 The Da Vinci Code and Crazy Rich Asians.
Michelle Ong loves to interpret natural themes in jewelry design, such as dragonflies, fruits and feathers. Eastern and Western cultures are also integrated in her designs; the Art Deco emerald rings and emerald-paved dragon brooches exhibit a unique style.
One of Michelle Ong’s most iconic jewelry elements is the “rose cut diamond”, which she believes showcases the subtle light and shadow of natural diamonds, as well as the soft, smooth texture. The large rose-cut center stone and bold diamond paving can be seen in throughout her work.
Diana Zhang is a female designer who joined the jewelry industry from the business world. In 2010, she boldly changed her career trajectory and went to France to study jewelry design. Since then, she has embarked on a journey of exploration into the creative world of jewelry.
In 2014, Diana Zhang was invited by the French antique dealer Martin du Daffoy to participate in the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, becoming the first Chinese female jewelry designer to appear at the event.
The biggest highlight of Diana Zhang’s work is undoubtedly the elements of Oriental culture. Her representative work, “A Year in China,” is inspired by the four seasons of plants. Natural diamonds are Diana Zhang’s gemstone of choice, and she uses them to create blossom buds inlaid with marquise-shaped diamonds, orchid petals paved with round diamonds and a lotus leaf dewdrops embellished with rose-cut diamonds, all resulting in pieces full of expression and vitality.