Swayed by the Jade

Once deemed an ac­ces­sor y for the el­der folk, jade has a new­found ap­pre­ci­a­tion by the younger gen­er­a­tion, partly thanks to jew­eller y de­signer Choo Yilin’s mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the stone, writes El­iz­a­beth Soong

Malaysia Tatler - - CONTENTS -

With the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a young mind put to work, this peren­nial jewel gets a mod­ern twist. Plus some tips on what to look out for when shop­ping for these stones

When some­one men­tions the word ‘jade’, I would think of my grand­moth­ers and great-grand­moth­ers with their pa­per-soft skin over gnarled limbs and the ubiq­ui­tous jade ban­gles and pen­dants,” Choo Yilin shared. “I have these deeply nos­tal­gic, com­fort­ing memories of climb­ing onto their laps and play­ing with their pen­dants and ban­gles when I was a child.” Hav­ing said that, Yilin, a jade jew­ellery de­signer her­self, is de­ter­mined to change this per­cep­tion. A fifth-gen­er­a­tion Straits Chi­nese im­mi­grant from Sin­ga­pore, Yilin, whose name when trans­lated means ‘mov­ing to­wards beau­ti­ful jade,’ re­mains true to her name­sake and makes it her life’s work to share all about the beau­ti­ful, cul­tural her­itage of jade through sto­ry­telling—and of course, her creations.

“I cre­ated the brand for so many rea­sons,” Yilin says. “On one hand, it is for our younger selves, and all our child­hood friends that we grew up with. That in­stead of us em­u­lat­ing Angelina Jolie or Natalie Port­man—icons of Western ide­alised beauty—it is equally won­drous to em­brace our own iden­tity and grow into our own ver­sions of Asian women who are on a quest to ac­cept all aspects of our­selves, which in­evitably en­com­passes our his­to­ries and her­itage. “At its heart, build­ing this brand is to show all of us Asian women that we should be fiercely proud of who we are. That young Asian women all over the world will fi­nally have a jew­ellery brand that speaks of their ev­ery emo­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment— from births and wed­dings and an­niver­saries, to mean­ing­ful birth­day gifts. A brand they can per­son­ally re­late to.” For her creations, Yilin uses only Type A jadeite, a highly prized gem that is a com­pletely nat­u­ral type of jade which has not been sub­jected to any form of chem­i­cal treat­ment to en­hance its colour. She also

works with tal­ented ar­ti­sans to cre­ate the stun­ning and in­tri­cate me­tal­work that you see on the ban­gles, pen­dants, ear­rings and rings in her col­lec­tions. Aside from its beauty, the me­tal­work serves as a way to show­case our rich her­itage—such as that of his­toric South­east Asian shop­houses, ke­bayas and Per­anakan laces. Yilin couldn’t have put it bet­ter than this: “With Choo Yilin’s jade, there is this de­sire to recre­ate memories of our grand­par­ents and our great­grand­par­ents but done in a way that also re­flects my own ex­pe­ri­ences and val­ues as a 21st cen­tury woman.” It may be called the Clas­sics yet this col­lec­tion is noth­ing but, and it’s the per­fect way for a mil­len­nial to get started on build­ing her trea­sury of jade jew­ellery. Launched this year, it fea­tures pared down min­i­mal­ist de­signs where the jade it­self tells a story. Ac­cord­ing to Yilin, no two pieces of jade is iden­ti­cal and with this new range, she aims to highlight the rich vari­a­tion of jade—the dif­fer­ent lev­els of translu­cency, the in­clu­sions of clouds, veins and chromium flakes, which give each piece of jade a unique vis­ual char­ac­ter. She as­sures, “The Clas­sics col­lec­tion is meant for every­day use.” Nev­er­the­less, jade still holds true with spe­cial oc­ca­sions and Yilin’s sig­na­ture col­lec­tions of Per­anakan-in­spired pieces and Cherry Blos­soms hap­pen to be very pop­u­lar with brides and count among her best-sell­ing pieces. Find her jew­ellery on­line, at chooy­ilin.com.

JADE FOR YOU Choo Yilin finds that the Cherry Blos­som col­lec­tion (top) tends to be pop­u­lar with brides or peo­ple who wish to gift for spe­cial oc­ca­sions

A TWIST FROM THE CLAS­SICS Clockwise from top left: Ke­baya jade necklace and studs; Per­anakan Lace ban­gle; Clas­sic col­lec­tion (For­est Vin­tage)

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