REFLECTIONS OF SIEM is a new collection inspired by Adrian Cheng, the mastermind behind the largest listed jeweller Chow Tai Fook, whose pioneering fusion of jewellery and art has driven the brand to great heights. This year, Cheng's inspiration soars to the mystic land of Cambodia for another intriguing collection.
A wave of applause greeted the designer's Ombre di Milano collection last year, with all 15 pieces sold at the brand's third auction dinner, an exclusive event for its VIP members. This year, Cheng's imagination manifests itself in astonishing explorations in jewellery with the Reflections of Siem collection. “From ethnic to contemporary,” Cheng explains, “good design should reflect the aesthetic and spirituality of human culture. Reflections of Siem brings us back to the land of a thousand tales – Cambodia. Through rediscovery of human heritage, we go back to our roots and unearth the true beauty that lies within.” Reflections of Siem is not only a collection of wearable jewellery but also collectable art pieces that dazzle with the story of a culture, portraying not just splendour and elegance, but also, hidden within, a wealth of knowledge.
From the distinctiveness of Cambodian nature to the spirit of its people, the soul of Cambodia is set free through Chow Tai Fook's creations, employing immaculate craftsmanship and design aesthetics, and using only the best gems and materials to craft each work into an exceptional piece of jewellery. Each gem's unique colour, texture, lustre and lines unite with thoughtful design and the skilful hands and minds of the craftsmen to produce a unique history of Cambodia.
Modesty in extravagance perfectly sums up Reflections of Siem. The transformation of a storied culture into luxurious works of art was not easy. The process was both challenging and enthralling, requiring Chow Tai Fook's master craftsmen to have a thorough understanding of the design concept. Meticulous preparation allowed the original inspiration to be fully transformed into jewellery pieces worthy of appreciation as art. For one set of pieces in the collection that was derived from Cambodian floating villages and the simple lifestyle of their inhabitants, artisans utilised special diamond settings to create a dynamic effect to portray the floating movement of the huts. Setting diamonds securely within slender rock crystals without damaging their delicate surface demanded the most refined setting skills.
With Cambodia's rich heritage and its most famed asset, the majestic Khmer Empire, as muse, the collection's highlight piece is an artistic interpretation of this fascinating culture as a necklace. No less than four different styles of 18K yellow-gold chains were used for the main necklace, giving a visually interesting yet not over-exaggerated effect. The design is simple but elegant, speaking to the placid nature of the Cambodian spirit. The centrepiece is a 27.65-carat oval red tourmaline cabochon stone entwined in diamond-studded gold branches that brilliantly dominate the scene. Surrounding the centre stone are rubies and yellow diamonds, further embellished by smaller tourmaline and cognac diamond slices that are randomly spread throughout the chains. The irregular cutting and arrangements of the gems emit a traditional and ethnic ambience while at the same time being contemporary and wearable.
Every piece in the Reflections of Siem collection is a work of art in the form of jewellery, telling a story to set the heart and soul aglow. Together the collection journeys through the captivating and exotic land of Cambodia. It is available exclusively to VIP members of Chow Tai Fook, who will be able to preview the pieces in March and bid for them at this year's auction dinner in October, where more of Cheng's artistic creations will be revealed.