Sunday, January 23, 2011

A modern, Si Dian Jin project

WM and M asked if I’d be able to work on M’s “si dian jin” (SDJ). SDJ is a Chinese custom and it literally translates to four pieces of gold; it is traditionally given to the bride by her Mother-In-Law. I had never done a SDJ before and was very excited by the project. The four pieces need to tell a coherent story you see, and as you already know by now, I love stories.

The other challenge that SDJs present to the modern-day designer is that the pieces traditionally regarded as “boring”, “dated” jewellery pieces. Many brides keep their SDJs in their safes, never to be worn after the wedding because the designs are somewhat at odds with most cosmopolitan women’s wardrobe.

Thus, we all agreed that we would move away from the classical design styles seen in the local goldsmith shops in Singapore. Rather, we’d continue with the label’s organic asymmetry philosophy while keeping to some traditional elements of what a SDJ would comprise of: loads of diamonds and gold.

The four pieces were as follows:

M and I both dislike the thin chains used in so many of the classical SDJ styles. Thus, we chose to go for a cuff with substantial width instead, while keeping it feminine and dainty enough to match with the wedding gown.

The bangle comprised primarily of organic vines, interspersed with random flowers and leaves that were studded with diamonds. The shape of it was somewhat asymmetrical, a slightly off-kilter oval shape to reinforce the organic aesthetic.

We used some colour to break up the monotony of gold and diamonds and this was reflected in fancy-cut cabochon gemstones that had the diamond-studded leaves and vines twining across them.

As a fan of versatility, I designed the piece such that each of the three components were detachable and could be worn in various permutations, depending on the formality of the event.

The pendants followed the same aesthetics as the earrings with one tiny little difference. M, who loves her cat dearly, requested that Karupin be immortalised in the SDJ project and she was. Here, you can see the cat resting happily at the base of the teardrop pendant with a somewhat smug expression on her face.

The chains, like the earrings, were detachable from the diamond-studded clasp. Again, this allowed for maximum versatility; there are a total of 6 different ways to wear it.

This project was a massive under-taking. We started work in September 2010 and only completed it in late-January 2011. Hundreds of diamonds and many hours of goldsmithing later, here is the final project. 

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