Find Your Statement Piece From Anna Hu
When I was little, I dreamed of being a solo cellist. However, when I was 20 I suffered a shoulder injury from practising too much and doctors told me I would never be able to play at a professional level. Shocked and confused, I had no idea what to do next.
It was my father who then encouraged me to take a different path in life, telling me that I’d always had a talent for colours and design. That led me to start studying jewellery design, but I never lost my love for music. To this day, I can’t tell whether I started my jewellery or music career first. To me, every precious stone is like a note in a musical composition. My passion for both allowed me to combine being a jewellery designer and a composer.
These two not only coincide with each other but are the same to me. I analyse the stones with pure logic and, when it comes to music, I transform that logic into the creative design process.
My collaboration with Sotheby’s Hong Kong for its Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction this year was such an important moment in my life as it allowed me to share my Chinese inspired creations with the world. My Silk Road Music Collecion was on offer at the auction—five pieces inspired by the musical and cultural exchanges that took place along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route connecting the East and West that dates back thousands of years.
The leading piece from the collection, the Dunhuang Pipa Necklace, was sold for US$5.78 million at the auction, setting a new world record for a piece created by a contemporary Chinese jewellery artist.
The cultural references to the East and the West and the ingenious transformable design of the Dunhuang Pipa Necklace made it the highlight of the auction. I was fascinated by the culture along the Silk Road and was inspired by the image of a lady playing the pipa—a four stringed Chinese lute—that was depicted on murals I saw when I travelled to Dunhuang, one of the cities along the Silk Road.
I wanted this collection to speak to my Chinese roots and I thought the beauty of the jewels could be enhanced with an ode to the traditional yet exotic music that once flowed through the Silk Road. This led me to draw an outline of the Dunhuang Pipa Necklace, which resembles a pipa attached to the lines of a hat, all flowing gracefully along the neckline.
The necklace features a jaw-dropping, dazzling, 100.02-carat intense yellow diamond and was created in a workshop in France by experienced artisans. The creation process took us almost a year to complete as I reviewed each step with the team. I was so touched by the close attention they paid to every step, from the 3D computerised simulation of where to set each stone to the waxing, moulding, stone setting, polishing and engraving stages.
The pipa on the necklace is also detachable and can be transformed into a brooch or pendant. A section of the necklace can be detached and worn as a single earring. It was designed for a woman who appreciates intricate designs with a versatile twist and the whole process has been a beautiful symphony orchestrated by both the team of artisans and myself.
See also: Art As Jewellery: Anna Hu's Silk Road Music Collection