Friday 8 February 2013

Chinese New Year: an updated take on Jade jewellery

One of the (many!!!!) things I love about living in Asia is how traditions are carried on from one generation to another.

Take Chinese New Year for example. Despite a largely westernized lifestyle in a city like Singapore, people still celebrate it massively and families gather for a traditional meals and exchange of Ang Pows on the night.

It’s the same with fashion. Instead of starting from scratch, a lot of the upcoming designers have been re-interpreting traditional clothes and jewellery to make them more relevant to their generation and lifestyle without losing their charm and identity.

While in clothes it is mainly cheongsams, in jewellery it has to be jade! Specifically Choo Yilin, a Singaporean designer who is updating staples like the solid jade bangle, ring and Bi (jade disc) to fit into our modern wardrobes.

I’m a big fan of jade myself and a proud owner of a passed-on traditional jade Bi from my Chinese mother-in-law. Although I don’t wear it all the time like she does, I still do at occasions like Chinese New Year or mix it with all sorts of bangles for a gypsy-esque look with a twist.

I love my bangle as it is but looking at Choo Yilin’s pieces, I found myself fancying one with a twist especially those from her Flower Jade collection.

The idea is simple. Take a traditional piece and add a little modern detail to complement its beauty and make it more accessible, affordable (they start at only $215 a pop!) and appealing to younger generation who might think jade is too ‘auntie’.

Most of the pieces are made from hand-cut grade A jadeite with added on details in woven bronze, silver, gold, and sometimes rhodium – and topped off with natural clear gemstones like purple amethyst and blue topaz to contrast the texture and opaqueness of the jade.

I love the combinations and how the designer really knows which metal and stone to match with which jade colour. My favourite pieces have to be those gorgeous rings with flower details which I would match with my plain bangle on any outfit really!

But that’s not all. Apart from the aesthetic and thematic appeal of Choo Yilin jewellery, the label has also been on a mission to be green and sustainable by using reclaimed metals and partnering with NGOs like the World Wildlife Fund and communicating and supporting their forest conservation missions through the Flower Jade series organic designs.

So if you thought those jade bangles are so ‘passe’, looking at these will probably change your mind and make you actually want to ring in this year of water snake with a bangle and even a Bi!

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone!!!!

Choo Yilin jade collection is available at these stockists and you can follow their facebook page for updates and news.