Gourmet Fair

The High Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Making Revealed

The Pisces zodiac set from the House of C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Photo Courtesy House of C

Paris, France – It was one of the sensations of the Paris Fashion Week last July when a unique exhibition devoted to Imperial jewels of China unfolded inside the prestigious Musée des Arts Décoratifs, housed in the Louvre Palace. One hundred and eight pieces were visible including some that were over 1,000 years old emanating from the prestigious Imperial dynasties. The Renaissance of Chinese Imperial Jewelry exhibition brought together along with the historical pieces the contemporary creations and collections of C -The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry, a house of high jewelry creation established by Cynthia Ruan and who presented the show.

Brooch which can be worn as a pendant in the Fantasy in the Garden collection from the House of C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Photo Courtesy House of C

It all began back in 2005 when she saw a pair of 300-year-old hairpins in a magazine from the Qing dynasty that had been sold at auction. Mrs. Ruan, a collector of royal antiquities  began looking for similar items in both China and abroad, but she soon realized, she explains, that the traditional jewelry expertise of the Imperial jewels was lost. Among the forgotten skills was the filigree mosaic technique, a skill so demanding that it required more than tens years of training and practice to master. There were less than 10 elder craftsmen capable of using this technique.

At that stage, Mrs. Ruan decided to devote herself to the preservation and revival of traditional Chinese jewelry craftsmanship. She gave up her job as a senior executive in a foreign company and founded her own art jewelry brand C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry.

The Taurus zodiac piece from the House of C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Photo Courtesy House of C

Crafting the high fashion jewelry of the House of C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Photo Courtesy House of C


In Chinese culture the character C represents light, prosperity and good fortune, characteristics which shine through the exceptional collections created by the house. But the great accomplishment remains the revival of the art of Chinese royal jewelry making, an art and craft which relies on the use of some 100 manual tools for gold engraving, weaving, texture and wire drawing in addition to the filigree mosaic that is a classic skill of Imperial China. 

Earrings from the Falling Flowers in a Pool collection from the House of C – The Art of Chinese Imperial Jewelry Photo Courtesy House of C

All of the pieces in the collections which feature special gemstones, are unique pieces. In 2010, the house was the only Chinese brand to be invited to exhibit in Paris during the Fashion Week. This years marked the return of the house, showcasing its exceptional collections ranging from a 12-piece set devoted to the Western zodiac and the high art collection Fantasy in the Garden. Currently confidential and available by appointment only, a Parisian boutique is on the horizon.©The Gourmet Gazette

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