Oct 19, 2012

Love tree

A few years ago I was approached by the editor of Lark Books asking me to submit a design to their new publication: 500 Wedding Rings. I was told that 500 designs would be jury selected from international submissions, and the judge would be Ms. Ursula Ilse-Neuman, the curator of Contemporary Jewelry at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York.

Modern arts are all about concepts, one delivers an unique artistic concept, rather than what we commonly called beauty, jazz rather than pop, wine rather than Pepsi. Professors at arts school do best in creating conceptual jewelries. As a commercial designer, I have to create beauty and value. I have to deliver jewelries using good gem-stones, with pleasing and lasting look (after all, a woman doesn't throw away her fine jewelries after the season!), and last but not least, a piece has to be finished with superb craftsmanship. Good enough as heritage of value.

I didn't want to create a piece of conceptual art just to be included in the publication. As such I had a formidable task: my creation has to to meet the high standard of contemporary art (otherwise it would not be selected), and yet, it must also look lovingly good to the lady next door (otherwise it could not be sold).

For this project, I got my inspiration from a romantic line of a famous Chinese poem written in the Tang Dynasty by Ba Juyi, his Song of Everlasting Regret (白居易:長恨歌):

That we wished to fly in Heaven, two birds with the wings of one; and to grow together on Earth, branches of two trees as one.


I created an intertwining knot-like structure in 18K white gold set with VS quality white diamonds with matching black diamonds. Half of the white gold I plated into black. Woman and man, Yin and Yang. I called it Love Tree, and in Chinese, 連理枝.

Love Tree by Sabina Lee

Listen to Takako Nishizaki playing Violin concerto Butterfly Lovers (Finale: Butterfly transformation)

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