Chinese bridal jewellery is usually equated with family heirlooms but, thanks to growing demand for modern pieces, some brands are using appealing designs to reinterpret traditional motifs and auspicious symbols. With limited variations for engagement rings – most are simple designs crowned with diamonds – jewellery designers have more room to complement wedding and evening gowns, in addition to traditional Chinese bridal dresses. Brides in traditional Chinese culture wore jewellery items that were family heirlooms included in the dowry, says Hong Kong jeweller and artist Dickson Yewn of contemporary luxury Chinese jeweller YEWN. “The pieces incorporated auspicious concepts ubiquitous in traditional Chinese decorative art. They include ‘luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth’. Some designs [featured] motifs, characters and flora and fauna that carried the auspicious symbolism.” Just 1 black Cartier Juste un Clou will be available in Hong Kong As the bejewelled reinterpretations of Chinese tangible and intangible artistic and cultural heritage, YEWN’s limited-edition designs often subtly incorporate auspicious symbolic significance. For instance, many clients include a gem-set bangle from the Garden line as bridal jewellery. “Walk in a traditional Chinese garden and you are surrounded by auspicious symbols, such as the motifs in the ceramic stools, the tiles and the latticework.” Other favourites include designs showing peony (it symbolises prosperity and nobility) and chrysanthemum (whose pronunciation in Mandarin is close to the word jiu , meaning forever) in the Paper Cut collection, which reflects his reinterpretation of Chinese folk art, Yewn says. “Many paper-cut designs are used to celebrate nuptials in rural houses.” STYLE Edit: Harry Winston’s diamonds that say ‘I do’ Most of Yewn’s clients are professional women who prefer their own style. “To complement white wedding gowns, they choose gem-set pieces with an antique look. The pieces may be set with pearls, diamonds and coloured gemstones,” he says. For evening gowns and traditional Chinese bridal dresses embroidered with multicoloured, gold and silver threads, pieces in the Manchurian collection look harmonious. Items reinterpret the glamour of Manchurian court jewellery, with butterflies, locks and sacred flowers among the motifs. International jewellery brand Qeelin, whose designs show a distinctive Chinese cultural sensitivity, also has several bridal collections. The Tien Di line consists of pairs of gold rings in square or rounded corners in white, yellow or rose colours. The rings are available in plain metal or set with diamonds. STYLE Edit: Saint Laurent turns to Wong Kar-wai for A Night in Shanghai “The characters ‘tien’ and ‘di’ literally mean heaven and earth. The collection turns the abstract concept of ‘orbicular sky and rectangular earth’ into a cultural symbol embedded with precious gemstones and fuses artistic looks with exquisite craftsmanship. They revisit the notion of “forever love”, says Dennis Chan, co-founder and creative director of Qeelin. The lock is the key element in the Yu Yi collection. Its name derives from Ruyi, a traditional Chinese ceremonial sceptre which means “fulfilment of desires”. “The Yu Yi line of jewellery draws on traditional Chinese iconography to capture the lock’s core meaning: good luck. The artistic depiction of clouds imbues the collection’s pendants with wishes of good life and all-consuming love,” Chan says. Qeelin’s King and Queen collection consists of spectacular diamond-and-gemstone-studded rings and bangles incorporating the mythical dragon and phoenix. “Chinese culture sees the ‘auspicious union of the dragon and phoenix’ as the pinnacle of harmony,” Chan says. “It is also the best line for wedding wishes. The collection symbolises the harmony between yin and yang, and the promise for love.” STYLE Edit: Why Boucheron’s Serpent Bohème collection endures The collection encompasses large couture pieces with elaborate details versatile enough to complement ornate evening gowns or traditional Chinese bridal dresses. “All our collections have great flexibility,” says Chan. “The King and Queen collection can be adapted to Western and Chinese styles. The dragon and the phoenix also symbolise independence and interdependence in marriage. They celebrate trust, esteem and tolerance as well as the strong balance between yin and yang, making each other a better being in their relationship. King and Queen is not a collection only for wedding but also for daily mix and match.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .