Seventies white gold cuff (left) and bracelet (right)
Designer jewellery is a hard sell in a competitive market like Hong Kong especially when a brand is not one of the big guns ie Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels. However there are a group of independent jewellers, especially from Paris, that stand out immediately for their unique design and exceptional quality, making them worth the investment.
Parisian jeweller Dinh Van is one of those names worth knowing. The brand was founded by French Vietnamese jeweller Jean Dinh Van and is already a household name in its native France. Even though the brand is relatively young when compared to more established luxury jewellery brands, its history is no less fascinating.
Vintage piece circa 1967
Dinh Van worked at Cartier for 10 years until the social and cultural revolution of the 1960s inspired him to set up his own house. He quickly made a name for himself thanks to his unique and controversial designs which broke with traditional jewellery conventions. While fine jewellery at the time was ornamental and fussy, he created simple yet feminine designs that were cutting edge when it came to styles and shapes.
Over the years he chartered new territory with designs such as his square shaped engagement rings (“the rings are square because the finger is not round,” he said) and chains made up of square (instead of round) links for a more edgy look. In 1967 he created the Bague Deux Perles ring for Pierre Cardin featuring two pearls framed by a gold square. Almost 40 years later it still looks modern and contemporary.
Pi bracelet for men (top); (above, from top left clockwise): Serrure bracelet, Menotte bracelet and ring
The current collection features new interpretations of these classics along with new designs that are in keeping with the brand’s creative spirit. Highlights include the Menottes collection, which is based on the handcuff key ring (the handcuffs are transformed into clasps for bracelets or used as a design motif for cufflinks or rings). The Pi Chinois collection, meanwhile, is based around a 24 carat hammered gold disc and is understated yet luxe. For men, they have launched a collection made from black carbon fibre for a cool look. My favourite however is the Serrure collection, with its unique sliding closure, and sleek geometric design.
Dinh Van has two boutiques in Hong Kong at Lee Gardens Causeway Bay and IFC Mall, Central. www.dinhvan.com