Chow Tai Fook to hold art-themed jewellery auction in Hong Kong

High jewellery pieces inspired by four abstract artists aimed at select customers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2016, 6:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2016, 6:00am

The worlds of art and jewellery come together with this year’s Chow Tai Fook High Jewellery collection, the fifth in the series.

Titled Le Labyrinthe Artistique, the collection, for which a preview will be held on April 23, takes design cues from abstract art and marries them with the craftsmanship of high jewellery cutting, setting and finishing. The last two collections, each comprising 15 pieces, both raised more than HK$30 million, and individual pieces have been known to sell for close to HK$4 million; most are knocked down for at least HK$100,000.

“Le Labyrinthe Artistique is our first high jewellery collection inspired by the arts. It’s a celebration of some of the most significant abstract artists in history,” says Adrian Cheng, Chow Tai Fook executive director. As well as his role at Chow Tai Fook, Cheng is the founder of K11 contemporary art malls and the K11 Art Foundation and is one of Hong Kong’s more visible patrons of the arts.

For this collection, Chow Tai Fook took inspiration from four abstract artists: Wassily Kandinsky, Frank Stella, Piet Mondrian and Robert Delaunay.

Branded and thematic collections from the likes of Chow Tai Fook are part of a wider trend at the upper end of the jewellery industry. Fine jewellery, an industry that was worth US$263 billion in 2014 according to a report by McKinsey, is still largely unbranded, with some estimates putting unbranded sales as high as 80 per cent.

This huge untapped market has seen traditional jewellers such as Piaget and Cartier step up their efforts in fine jewellery, on the one hand to expand their market dominance as consumers become more comfortable with the idea of branding in this segment and on the other to meet the aggressive push by fashion brands such as Maison Martin Margiela and Hermes. As this trend for branding has developed, fashion brands and even high-end watchmakers like Roger Dubuis have been quick to expand into this rarefied but lucrative segment with limited thematic collections aimed squarely at a select group of elite clients and collectors.

April’s preview for Le Labyrinthe Artistique at the Grand Hyatt is the first of a series in Hong Kong and China ahead of the auction itself, for which a date has yet to be set. Last year’s collection, Reflections of Siem, inspired by the Khmer culture of Cambodia, was launched in March and the auction followed in October, with an exclusive dinner for select Chow Tai Fook clients.