Renaissance of Chinese Jewellery
Light, prosperity, good fortune, the Chinese character of C 熙 has a very positive meaning. The logo goes even deeper in symbolism with it's two headed dragon from the Longsham culture embodying the former imperial family. The goal of the brand to reimplement the ancient Chinese knowhow stands on this pedestal of in-temporality, permanent self-improvement and transmission.
Jewellery tradition can be dated back as far as 8000 years in Chinese culture, since then, it promotes the “unity of nature and man”*. Gold and lapidary craft have been, in the last centuries of the imperial China, reserved only to nobility. With the arrival of the communist revolution and later the industrial rapid development, this ancient technics remained dormant in the heart of only 10 masters. Cynthia Ruan, the owner and soul of the C house, lover of Chinese art and folklore since her childhood, devoted ambassador of oriental culture, artist herself and philanthropist, engaged in 2005 in a fabulous journey. Her quest shifted rapidly from buying antiquity rare jewellery and repairing them into the revival and creation of new collections in the “art of Chinese imperial jewellery”
In accordance with the standards of ancient royal workshops of the Qing Dynasty, Ms Ruan has established her own atelier. Apart from the transmission of traditional craftsmanship, her team also works with the latest techniques, such as micro-inlay, mixed veneer and wax engraving, mixing them with the ancient skills. In the C workshop, the royal art of fine gold gets infused with the vitality of our modern world. *
In-order to arrive a this museographical perfection, they had to rebuild tools and tables long abandoned by the metal workers. The royal dimension for a gold thread is of 0,1 mm, or lets say, a 6th of a hair. The development of ancient instruments for engraving, weaving, texturing, tweezing, filling, joining, welding, stacking, layering and more than a hundred process phases have been restored in concordance with the old imperial standards and remain an ongoing developing mission for the C workshop. Their world wide acclaimed “demonstration” if I can humbly call it this way, was the reproduction of the Golden Wire Crown of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty. Museologists recognise that a few years ago this would have been impossible. The 518 - 0,2mm gold threads offering a uniform pattern with no joint or visible wire end, the vivid dragons, all weighting only 826 grams, used to be a jewel of maturity for the emperor, it is a craft of maturity for the C high jewellery house.
We had the chance to observe antique jewellery from her own collection, like this incredible light and delicate princess crown. This piece is not only enclosing ancestral knowhow but a hole cultural heritage. The intricate construction was a token of well-behaviour. The delicate flowers seem alive and move at the slightest vibration. Stillness was nobility.
Hair pins, a perfume bottle, a royal necklace, the reproduction of the emperor’s crown, all filled with symbolism, social codes and history. This pieces allow us to travel through time and open a door in the fabulous ancient China.
Princess Crown, Ming Dynasty, Ruby, Alcedo Feather, 22k gold
Emperor Wanli Crown reproduction, Ming Dynasty, 22k gold, 826g
Present for the second time during the Haute Couture fashion week in Paris, C is everything of an haute joaillerie house. History, traditions, unique craftsmanship, signature pieces, rarity of gems, collections of incredible story telling power, technical achievements and of course, sur-mesure pieces, all with a hereditary service.
The new collections are not only achieving technical perfection but they bring to us, as well, the ancient perfume. ”The Uncomparable Beauty of the Goddess of Water" released in 2017, is inspired by a 1700 years old love poem. This collection is an ode to freedom, love and carpe diem: "the present possession is already an eternity” Cao Zhi, prince of the Wei and Jin dynasties, is telling us over the ages.
“A Moonlight Night on the Spring River” also inspired by a poem, “A moonlight night on the spring river”by Zhang Ruoxu of Tang Dynasty, the jewels are telling us about river journey unlocking the imagination and love for nature. Here, "Falling Flowers in a Pool" with a 41,88ct crimson Nigerian Turmaline, looks alive, the symbol of falling flowers is the endless circle of life.
"Falling Flowers in a Pool": 41.88ct tourmaline,smaller tourmalines & diamonds, gold
"Song of the Goddess of Creation": 45.57ct Opal, white saphire,5 rose diamonds, 2 siamant
"Roaming on waves": 39.36ctemerald,6.57ct diamonds, gold
« Guardians- Twelve Zoadic Signs » 2018, represents 7 year of work. Using all the occidental elements this collections is offering us more than 30 different gemstones.
The exhibition presented also pieces from older collections, like “Fantasy in the garden” from 2014 or “Ostrich and Phoenix Recital” 2008. This jewellery piece has 5 technical innovations developed in the C workshop.
The two birds, divinities and exclusively reserved to royalty, are the balance between Yin and Yang in the modern culture. With the white coral peony flower, symbol of China, this exclusive necklace is representing the independence, honour and splendour of Chinese women.
In our modern civilisation characterised by openness and fusion of Chinese and Western culture, it is essential for artistic jewellery to preserve and pass on traditional skills, while expressing the emotions of contemporary people.
With traditional aesthetics as a starting point, and inspiration from other fields such as classical literature, painting, philosophy, architecture, etc. and in collaboration with Asian jewellery designers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan, C has never ceased to create in the last ten years in a spirit of openness. *
by Alexandra Mas
* Cynthia Ruan & press office