Monday January 28, 2013
By LOUISA LIM and WILLIAM K.C. KEE
For Lunar New Year, why not serpent-inspired accessories?
THE vote is unanimous among jewellery designers: what better way to usher in the Year Of The Snake than to play up the gracefulness and powerful symbolism of the serpent? From necklaces to chopstick holders, it seems like this reptile is finally getting the attention – and good reputation – it deserves this Lunar New Year.
Leading the nest is local jeweller Poh Kong, who has incorporated the snake into its 2013 Auspicious Jewellery Collection. The glittering gold rings and pendants from this collection blows us away with its intricacy and opulence – there’s the Lucky Gourd Pendant (try spotting the snake on this!) and an Abacus of Wealth ring which shows a snake snuggling up against a mini replica of an abacus.
Better yet, these accessories aren’t made without first consulting Jackie Choon, the executive director of Poh Kong and – some say – a first-rate feng shui practitioner. Think of it as a personal talisman – each design is meant to represent elements of good fortune, wealth and prosperity and wearing it is meant to be auspicious.
We especially love the Success Pendant – which resembles the Rod of Asclepius with its bamboo-intertwining snake – and can envision it with our favourite dress. It is said the snake represents quick movement, longevity and wealth, while the bamboo is a symbol of progress, persistence and upward momentum. If it lives up to its name, we’re certainly all set to conquer the new year!
From homegrown brand Habib comes its Chinese New Year (CNY) collection, which embraces the beauty of the Chinese garden. There are exquisitely-crafted pendants, necklaces, brooches, bangles, earrings and rings.
In this collection, there are new additions to Habib’s highly sought-after Italian 916K gold jewellery range. Given that 916K gold is a rarity in European jewellery designs, this range is created exclusively for Habib by a leading gold jewellery manufacturer based in Italy.
The collection also features diamond and precious gemstone pieces. A key attraction is a diamond and blue sapphire bracelet that resembles dew drops in the garden under the morning sun.
If you’d rather wear a timepiece instead of bling bling on your wrist, there’s The Legend Of White Snake. It’s a watch created by Swatch.
Every year, the popular Swiss brand contributes to the festivities by creating a special watch. This year’s design (priced at RM260) features a multicoloured snake weaving its way across a white silicone strap.
This watch has a white dial adorned with Arabic numerals in a variety of colours, and the hour and minute hands appear to curl and twist like snakes in motion. The snake’s multiple colours re-appear in a bright floral variation on the packaging, which comes with a transparent watch case.
International outfitter Alfred Dunhill joins in the slithery fray – by coming up with its own statement pieces. Made exclusively for discerning men, the range includes cufflinks in pink gold or brass palladium plate and a key fob which illustrates the snake symbol. Curved beautifully to the figure of eight, the luckiest number in Chinese culture, it also makes a great collectible.
Finally, if you’re not the type to wear a reptile close to your skin, why not display it at home instead? For that, Royal Selangor’s Year of The Snake Collection is de riguer.
Comprised of a limited-edition plaque, a figurine and chopsticks, these products – all featuring snakes, of course – make great household items. The chopstick’s matching rests – twin snakes presented in a stylistic manner to symbolise bountiful harvest and abundance – are pretty cool. We can practically imagine whipping these out during a gathering and watching others turn green with envy.
The snake-and-bamboo motif is also repeated in the brand’s limited-edition plaque bearing two twin pythons coiling around a few stalks of bamboo. This elegant composition comes complete with a nice little passage about good fortune and a bright future.
True, these accessories’ larger-than-life designs may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wonder to behold, even if you don’t celebrate CNY. And it’s propitious too – in ancient Chinese mythology, snakes are associated with rich symbolism and the shedding of its skin is linked to the idea of rebirth, transformation and creativity.