Ed­mond Chin

Hong Kong Tatler - - Trends -

In his own words, Ed­mond Chin is jew­ellery-mad. The Sin­ga­pore-born, Hong Kong-based de­signer’s ob­ses­sion with jewels be­gan when he was 14; he started col­lect­ing Straits Chi­nese jew­ellery us­ing the money that he earned from cook­ing gourmet din­ners for univer­sity friends. By the time Chin had grad­u­ated from Ox­ford Univer­sity in 1988, he had amassed a col­lec­tion large enough for a mu­seum.

Three years later, he was in­vited to cu­rate a Straits Chi­nese jew­ellery ex­hi­bi­tion at the Sin­ga­pore Na­tional Mu­seum, mark­ing the start­ing point of his ca­reer in gems. Chin was then in­vited to head up Christie’s jew­ellery and jadeite depart­ment in Asia. Ac­cord­ing to François Curiel, the in­ter­na­tional head of Christie’s jew­ellery depart­ment, Chin de­vel­oped an am­bi­tious and cre­ative auc­tion strat­egy dur­ing his ten­ure, grow­ing the com­pany’s sales to un­prece­dented lev­els.

In 2000, Chin launched his own jew­ellery brand, Etcetera. “Af­ter five years, I felt that I had made my point in auc­tions and thought it would be more in­ter­est­ing to do my own pieces,” he says. Chin be­gan cre­at­ing jewels that were dis­tinct, time­less, and tech­no­log­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated in their con­struc­tion and stone-set­ting. “One of my great he­roes is [Span­ish ar­chi­tect] San­ti­ago Cala­trava,” he says. “He made a sus­pen­sion bridge with only one pier. It’s so dra­matic be­cause the ar­chi­tec­ture is so ad­vanced. So I al­ways ask my­self: how can I be like Cala­trava, where I can make a jew­ellery piece bet­ter with less?”

Chin re­cently sold one such neck­lace at a Christie’s auc­tion—18k white gold forms the ar­tic­u­lated lat­tice­work of a neck­lace set with 48 pi­geon-blood ru­bies (weigh­ing 120 carats) and 13 pear-shaped di­a­monds. The neck­lace, es­ti­mated at HK$56–88 mil­lion, sold for HK$100 mil­lion.

STONE AR­CHI­TECT It took Ed­mond Chin sev­eral years to col­lect the pi­geon­blood ru­bies for this unique lat­tice­work neck­lace

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