Diamond Flower Cluster Pendant, Peranakan Jewellery

The best part of Peranakan jewellery for us is how refined they appear for something so delicate. But do you know why?

This pendant was commissioned by a Peranakan family more than 80 years ago. In those days, the craftsman would bring his tools to the family residence and make the commissioned piece there. In that way, every element of the piece was tightly controlled and thus perfected in the presence of its owner. Such practices meant that heirloom pieces were created for heritage families, piece after piece, each distinct in the eyes of its owner. An interesting development being how each ‘distinct’ design would be admired by so and so other member and its joy intimated, causing this one piece to be further fabricated by that family’s craftsman. This explains why and how much of Peranakan jewellery remains a distinct arm of jewellery art. In fact, such pieces now form an almost solo study to the jewellery of this region.

The English-influenced, Art Nouveau leaves and flowers motif is typical of Peranakan jewellery, but what’s uncommon about this piece is that it ends with a lavalier style leaf drop. You can trace this back to Victorian lavalier necklaces, and while we see much of Chinese export jewellery between the two wars, we are always intrigued by the Straits Chinese insistence on perfecting traditional and Western motifs into what is, and surely in these regions, essentially Peranakan, and proudly so.

Old Peranakan jewellery is beautiful because they are stubborn. Stubborn on quality and stubborn on style. In a cultural sense, we do not see this quality replicated in jewelry from anywhere, no matter how fine or expensive. Unlike Cartier or Bulgari or Tiffany, the style of Peranakan jewellery is not determined by any particular designer or craftsmen; they are products of organic, cross cultural efforts.

Although they command formidable prices in the marketplace nowadays, this does not deter collectors and admirers alike. Even people who don’t like jewellery perk up when they hear about an old Peranakan piece!

At 3.5cm, this was regarded a medium size pendant in its time, the flair of the richer, heritage family. Yet by today’s jewelry standards, this is probably considered a bigger-than-usual pendant, to be worn on the right occasions.

This hand-fabricated pendant consists of 14 bright, old mine cut diamonds with a total approximate weight of 2cts set in 18k yellow gold.

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Diamond Flower Cluster Pendant, Peranakan Jewellery

Diamond Flower Cluster Pendant

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