Ori­ent Sur­prise

DIANA ZHANG MAKES A STATE­MENT IN THE WORLD OF HIGH JEW­ELLERY WITH DEL­I­CATE PIECES IN­SPIRED BY HER HOME­LAND

Hong Kong Tatler - - It Girl -

DIANA ZHANG, THE FIRST FE­MALE ASIAN JEWELLER TO SHOW HER PIECES AT THE 2014 BI­EN­NALE DES AN­TI­QUAIRES IN PARIS, IS NOT NEW TO THE WORLD OF HIGH JEW­ELLERY.

BORN IN MAIN­LAND CHINA IN THE HEAT OF THE CUL­TURAL REVO­LU­TION, ZHANG GREW UP IN AN ERA OF CHANGE. SHE DE­VEL­OPED IN HER TEENAGE YEARS AN IN­TER­EST IN JEW­ELLERY, AS WELL AS A LOVE OF ART.

ZHANG PRE­SENTED HER COL­LEC­TION, ONE YEAR IN CHINA, AT THE BI­EN­NALE DES AN­TI­QUAIRES AT THE BE­HEST OF CYRILLE DE FOUCAUD, THE OWNER AND CEO OF AN­TIQUE JEW­ELLRY HOUSE MARTIN DU DAFFOY.

THE TWO MET AT BASEL­WORLD, AND AF­TER A TOUR OF ZHANG’S HONG KONG WORK­SHOP THAT RE­VEALED THE EX­TENT OF THE DESIGNER’S IN­GE­NU­ITY, FOUCAUD WAS EA­GER TO SHARE HIS DIS­COV­ERY WITH THE WORLD.

HIGHLY COL­LECTABLE, ZHANG’S PIECES SHOW­CASE STRONG CHI­NESE IN­FLU­ENCES, A FLAIR FOR DRAMA, AND AS­TOUND­ING LEV­ELS OF WORK­MAN­SHIP.

THE COL­LEC­TION USES CLAS­SIC CHI­NESE FLORA TO REP­RE­SENT THE SEA­SONS: OR­CHID QUEEN FOR SPRING; LO­TUS AF­TER THE RAIN FOR SUM­MER; DANC­ING RED LEAVES FOR AU­TUMN; PLUM BLOS­SOM, KING OF WIN­TER; AND ROYAL BAMBOO, WHICH REP­RE­SENTS THE WHOLE YEAR IN GEN­ERAL.

ANY­ONE WHO HAS EVER OB­SERVED A LO­TUS FLOWER EMERG­ING FROM A MURKY POND CAN­NOT FAIL TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF THIS PLANT. THIS UNFORGOTTEABLE SCENE IN­SPIRED THE DESIGNER TO RECORD THE MO­MENT WITH THE

FROM TOP: DIANA ZHANG AT WORK; LO­TUS AF­TER

THE RAIN BAN­GLE; SET­TING THE 3.01-CARAT OLD MINE-CUT DI­A­MOND LO­TUS AF­TER THE RAIN BAN­GLE. SET IN WHITE GOLD, THE PIECE USES DI­A­MONDS AND GREEN GAR­NETS TO SHOW­CASE A LO­TUS FLOWER FILLED WITH DEW.

AT THE BI­EN­NALE, FRANCE’S FIRST LADY, BER­NADETTE CHIRAC, TRIED ON THE PIECE AND EX­PRESSED GREAT IN­TER­EST IN ZHANG’S WORK, A SEN­TI­MENT SHARED BY CHRISTIE’S ASIA PRES­I­DENT FRAN­COIS CURIEL.

ZHANG’S AP­PROACH DE­MANDS THAT CRAFT YIELDS TO ART, AN ETHOS THAT’S OB­VI­OUS IN THE TECH­NI­CAL FEATS HER JEW­ELS DEMON­STRATE. “I POUR MY HEART AND SOUL INTO EV­ERY PIECE,” SHE SAYS. “I HAND­PICK EV­ERY GEM, AND WILL WORK AND RE­WORK A PIECE UN­TIL I SEE PER­FEC­TION. FOR ME, JEW­ELS ARE LIKE WORKS OF ART, AND SYM­BOLS OF LOVE TO BE PASSED FROM ONE GEN­ER­A­TION TO AN­OTHER. LONG AF­TER I AM GONE, I WANT MY JEW­ELS TO STILL SPEAK FOR ME.”

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