SARAH HO: DESIGNING WITH RUBY
A Behind the Scenes Interview
GEM VISIONS TALISMANS AND SYMBOLS IS A CONCEPT BOOK ABOUT SYMBOLS IN THE JEWELRY INDUSTRY, BUT ALSO ABOUT THE SYMBOLIC MEANING AND INFLUENCE OF JEWELRY. WHICH TALISMANS ARE YOU WEARING AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
I wear the number nine rings from the classic and fancy diamond range from the Numerati collection based on the belief system of numbers. The number nine in numerology represents creative abilities, loyalty, self love, altruism and benevolence, compassion, optimism and divine wisdom. The number nine has great significance for my family, as my grandparents are both one of nine siblings, and they both used this number as a talisman on personalized car registration numbers, family homes, and throughout my childhood where the number reoccurred serendipitously.
DO YOU THINK SYMBOLIC MEANING AND TALISMANS ARE GAINING MORE IMPACT IN JEWELRY DESIGN? IS IT AN ONGOING TREND?
The demand by consumers who factor in ‘the story’,when investing into a market which is not equated to supply and demand has become more prevalent. This demand has impacted jewelry design as the research, the sourcing of stones and materials, the designer’s
backstory, the brands DNA has become integral to the designs and commercial success. The emergence of new mediums, innovative ways to market your product and your brand is a sign that this trend will continue for a long time. I always begin with the story at the root of my research when designing. I feel this approach gives my work a uniqueness which my loyal clients continue to invest into.
Talking about your designs you developed for our concept book: we see Asian Design elements, where did you get your inspiration from and what is the story and idea behind your designs?
I started researching the words of longevity, luck, and prosperity in Cantonese and Mandarin, collecting as many stylistic variations on each of the characters I could find. I dissected the use of brush stroke, and how their origins in history and geographically impacted the style of each flick, whether that be with ink or paint, by a hand or machine, such as a computer or a tattooist needle. The profusion of the medium that these symbols appeared also interested me, the social impact each symbol had and its significance, the use of these symbols in architecture, on products, on flesh, anything which could refine my interpretation, and inform the foundation of the design. I instinctively knew that I wanted to create a series of rings that would encapsulate my Asian heritage, the western influences of the roots of my company, and also to create designs with a commercial value which would appeal to both Eastern and Western markets, while retaining a timelessness quality that is still very current.
Your stunning rings contain both visible messages and hidden characters – please tell us what triggered this great idea?
I have been very interested of late in the relationship that the design of the shank has with the top of the ring. How negative and positive spaces can be utilized in a different way, how to abstract visible symbols, words, characters and numbers recognized by the masses,
so that it becomes hidden when worn. In my previous collection called Numerati the design of the shank plays a key role in how the design looks when worn and when not. The concept of abstraction led me to take part of the symbols design out of the tops of the rings (the positive space), and apply it to the inside of the shanks (the negative space), leaving skin in its place to obscure the symbols, giving each design an extra depth that can
only be read when the positive and negative areas are viewed as one.
Can you tell us why you chose rubies and diamonds for your rings? What are the motives for your preference towards these precious materials?
I chose the red ruby to amplify the symbols meaning on the rings. In China, red is associated with good luck and fortune, while rubies have been considered for thousands of years as the stone of love, energy, passion, power, and a zest for life. The ruby is also known as the stone of courage, and the legend tells us that a person possessing
a ruby can walk through life without fear of misfortune.
I use diamonds in most of my work and felt that this really complimented the design, my choice of precious metal and the ruby. The diamond has an unconquerable hardness and has been known since antiquity as a “stone of invincibility,” bringing victory, superior strength, fortitude and courage to its wearer. It is associated with
fearlessness and protection. It Is a symbol of wealth and manifesting abundance into one’s life, an amplifier of energies, goals and intent, and it’s highly effective in magnifying the vibrations of other precious stones. It is believed to be particularly beneficial when set in gold
and worn on the left arm. Using rubies from Swarovski Gemstones and diamonds in my work brings not only a commercial value which will appeal to Eastern and
Western markets, but gives the story behind these rings a depth which breaks people’s perceptions on luxury.
Further, we are happy to have you as a collaboration partner – why did you decide to collaborate with Swarovski Gemstones?
Swarovski has been a constant support throughout my career, affording me the experience to utilize my love of color, the different combinations that they create within the confines of precious metals, combinations that have become part of my signature which I commercialized
within my collections, my one of master pieces, and for
my loyal bespoke clients. For these particular rings, knowing the market and the woman that I had in mind, I wanted to work with a source of gemstone that reflects
a quality, creativity, and technical precision that Swarovski has come to stand for, a quality which I have looked towards when cementing the DNA of my own company.
ANY FUTURE PLANS – WHERE CAN WE FOLLOW AND SEE YOUR UPCOMING WORK?
I am currently putting the finishing touches to my one of masterpieces which will be showcased in Hong Kong in late November. I have also been collaborating with a Chinese diamond company, creating a master suite and a collection which will go into a diamond museum which they are creating. The pieces were launched at Baselworld.