Friday, March 5, 2010


China's Kunming Botanical Gardens houses 10 distinct gardens that highlight 4,000 species of precious flowers, medicinal herbs, and trees. China is also the home base of featured jewelry brand Qeelin.

The use of symbols is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, the lore of which has endured through many centuries.

As I have mentioned in a few other posts, symbolic jewelry spans cultures from Africa to Italy.

As I have learned about this particular jewelry's origins I have taken note of the strong sense of cultural history attached to the jewelry.

I also recognize that no matter what the culture, uplifting symbols meets a universal need that all humans have for hope and inspiration during times of adversity.

When naming the company, Creative Director Dennis Chan wanted a moniker that reflected good fortune. Accordingly, the company's name is derived from the word qilin, a Mandarin word that means "lucky mythological creature."

Chan utilizes China's cultural symbols to bring historical significance to each of his collections, as well as implementing forms that highlight the purity of simplicity.

Chan founded Qeelin 13 years ago, upon visiting China's Dunhuang Caves. The vivid imagery left an indelible mark and he used his design education, acquired at Hong Kong's Polytechnic University, to bring China to the world through 18-karat white gold and diamonds.

"It was a turning point for me; viewing the caves," he says. "The statues and murals re-introduced me to the rich decorative nature of my heritage."

Following the tradition of French artisanship, the Qeelin brand blends France's renowned artistry with the Asian aesthetic of delicate, buoyant proportions.

The Yu Yi Collection highlights a white gold and diamond interpretation of the Chinese longevity lock, an item famous for its difficulty to unlock. Over the centuries it has become a symbol of protection and security.

The custom of wrapping newborns' feet with strings suspending small, silver bells is captured in items from the Ling Long Collection.

Dainty bells fashioned from 18-karat rose or white gold and encasing a single, small diamond are reinterpreted as pendants, earrings, and ankle bracelets. According to Chinese tradition, the sound of the bells was believed to deflect evil sprits and encourage good luck.

To honor the unending bond between the far-reaching universe and the Earth, Chan created the Tien Di Collection. The gentle blending of a square (the universe) with a circle (the Earth) represents this cosmic bond. The composite structure, fashioned from shiny green, brown, and black jade, is essentially a delicate square with softened, rounded sides.

"I like the idea of being able to carry a special symbol with you. It is a comforting feeling like being with a friend," says Chan.

Qeelin's CEO, Guillaume Brochard, echoes this sentiment, "I believe the success of Qeelin is related to the spirit of the collections, which I think bring fresh air in the world of jewelry with its meaningful designs," he explains. "The pieces are mysterious, unique and intimate; chic yet not too formal."
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat White Gold Longevity Lock Pendant with Pavé Diamonds from Yu Yi CollectionPhoto 2 (bottom left): Burmese Green Jade Pendant from Tien Di Collection
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