The Impact of Chinese New Year on Jewelry

The Chinese New Year of 2024 coincided with predictions of promising economic growth in the former Celestial Empire, sparking a fresh fusion of aesthetic and cultural values

Released in November 2023 to provide a predictive overview of luxury personal goods consumption in 2024, the Altagamma Consensus estimates an 8% growth for China and Asia, which, although lower than in pre-Covid years, will make Chinese consumers the best performers.

The positive sales trend will continue in 2024, particularly in jewelry for which +5.5% is estimated, and fashion jewelry will also continue to grow. These figures are enough to understand that the bridge between West and East is destined to become much shorter, creating an increasingly intimate con- nection between cultures that were once very far apart. It is happening right now, with the Lunar New Year, which began, according to the Chinese horoscope, on 10 February 2024. A traditional and fundamental celebration in China and for the entire Chinese world, whose importance has resounded more than ever beyond the borders of the Celestial Empire. The new report, “Decoding Luxury Marketing Milestones in China: Lunar New Year”, published by DLG (Digital Luxury Group) and Re-Hub, takes an in-depth look at the strategies adopted by the luxury world to connect with the values of this celebration through 2024 case studies and the social and e-commerce performance of 95 luxury brands in 2023. «The Lunar New Year is of special significance as the most traditional holiday for Chinese consumers and is a key opportunity for local shopping, which many brands have been well aware of for decades. Despite the extensiveness of numerous local shopping events and festivals, it is still an opportunity that luxury companies should not ignore,» as the report’s first pages say. A diktat that also applies to the jewelry sector: «The Lunar New Year emerges as an important occasion for giving gifts, not only between lovers but also among parents and friends. We have observed that the best-selling products include watches and jewelry.» The launch of limited collections for events such as these is a long-standing formula.

Going back decades, collec- tions dedicated to the Lunar New Year were prob- ably among the first exclusive initiatives created for China. Nowadays, however, Chinese consumers have evolved and become more demanding: the challenge for Western brands is to interpret Chinese culture in a more elegant and empathetic way. «Drawing inspiration from the rich tapestry of local culture to enchant consumers on their native soil is the litmus test for luxury brands’ ability to design. They should avoid the mere appropriation of Chinese zodiac signs and iconography and instead, extract elements and subtleties that evoke a mutual resonance through a deep understanding of Chinese aesthetics. These should then be transmuted into the brand's unique interpretation, resulting in meticulously crafted design offers,» explains insider Christy Yen, Creative Director (China) at DLG Group. A challenge that, especially in high jewelry, can achieve results of enormous artistic value. The Chinese calendar follows a cycle of twelve years, each associated with one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The year 2024 features its fifth element, the Dragon, one of the most powerful symbols, associated with strength, courage, wisdom and good luck.

To mark the 2012 Lunar New Year, Piaget had already dedicated a special capsule collection of exceptionally well- made watches. With the onset of this new 12-year cycle, the maison is once again paying tribute to the Dragon with a capsule collection that includes high jewelry creations: a dragon brooch and ring and two phoenix earrings. The signet ring flaunts a 4.02-carat, cushion-cut, Mozambique ruby, accompanied by spessartites and spinels set in gradation and embellished with baguette-cut diamonds and gold engravings: a masterpiece that, through its meticulous craftsmanship, manages to convey the company’s unparalleled codes and, at the same time, englobe the power of a mythological symbol. But the spirit of the Dragon is “igniting” the inspiration of many, especially those designers who, through the art of jewelry, love to express untamed creativity. Such is the case of Francois Santo. The Roman designer, who nurtured his artisan skills in Italy, only to “move them” to Australia, invites us to embrace the power of this regal creature through one-of-a-kind jewelry that contains its vibrant energy, in order to instill joy, good fortune and prosperity.

Through her brand Authorne, Chinese-Canadian visual artist Rachel Bu, who lives and works in New York City, is able to express the value of this moment in an even more sentimental way. To celebrate it, she col- laborated in a cartoon film with graphic artist Vannia Palacio in which her creations - the Guardians Eastern and Western brooches - approach the Year of the Dragon with confidence, luck and a dose of playfulness: «At this Lunar New Year, we have looked at the playful Guardian Lions, the Eastern and Western Lions, that tame their strength with grace, temperance and playfulness. The acknowledgement that duality exists in all of us, that we are not simply one mind but an amalgamation of our past, our future hopes, our aspirations and our learnings. In this year of the mighty Dragon, let us embrace resilience and confidence and trust that good fortune will shine upon us. Listen to your intuition, trust your intelligence, honor the re- newal that comes with the New Year.» Playfulness and renewal also appear in the proposals of Xiao Xintong AKA Siu, who grew up right in the middle of the rich heritage of Chinese craftsmanship. Through her eponymous brand founded in 2017, the emerging young designer offers a fresh and innovative look at traditional Chinese aesthetics, translating their intricate details and symbolism into a precious, pop and contemporary language.

  • The Saint Duke brooch, Neptune ring

    The Saint Duke brooch, Neptune ring

  • “L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle” ring, all by Santo.

    “L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle” ring, all by Santo.

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