Cover Photo: Courtesy of Anna Hu

Sotheby’s Hong Kong auctioned Chinese haute joaillerie artist Anna Hu’s five-piece Silk Road Music collection for a good cause during a fun-filled night of music

Music and jewellery have gone hand in hand for me since childhood. Born in Tainan to gemstone dealer parents, I first fell in love with jewellery as a child around the same time I began to play the cello. As such, my passion for both crafts has become intertwined. As a young musician, my sights were set firmly on a career as a virtuoso classical cellist, but when a shoulder injury meant I was no longer able to perform, jewellery making became my new dream.

I’ve since incorporated music into my pieces in every way possible, which I have achieved by using the idea that every musical note has a corresponding colour. Through the use of coloured gemstones, each of my jewellery pieces plays a melody using the notes that I have assigned to each gemstone. This purposefully creates a rhythmic flow of line, light and colour that is truly breathtaking.

This is, in part, why my recent collaboration with Sotheby’s Hong Kong has been so special. I created the five-piece Silk Road Music collection, which is inspired by music that was played along the ancient Silk Road, to go on auction especially for Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale. Part of the proceeds of the sale went to Silkroad, a charity founded by Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who has been a personal inspiration and friend of mine for many years.

See also: From Cellist To Jewellery Artist: Anna Hu Brings Music To Her Pieces

I first met Yo-Yo in Boston in 1992 when I was a young woman pursuing a career in music. Who would have thought that fate would have us cross paths again nearly 30 years later thanks to Sotheby’s, who asked that we perform on stage to celebrate the auction house’s sale last month. Our reunion was wonderful and I have no doubt that the subsequent friendship that has developed will continue for many years to come.

As if performing with Yo-Yo wasn’t incredible enough, I was also able to play using a famous 400-year-old Italian instrument which was once owned by 17th-century Italian luthier Vincenzo Ruggeri, thanks to the Chimei Museum in Tainan.

The fact that the sale proceeds by my jewellery were donated to Yo-Yo’s wonderful foundation, which aims to foster mutual understanding between the various ethnic groups across the world, was an additional blessing. My jewellery, not unlike the Silk Road, has connected Eastern and Western culture for years, and the fact that Yo-Yo’s organisation shares the same ideology is amazing.

See also: 5 Impossibly Clever Jewellery Collections Inspired By History

In today’s world of increased globalisation, it’s never been more important to stay connected to others. My Silk Road Music collection, created in a French workshop by experienced artisans, has a fluid, dancing quality that celebrates life and movement. 

The Jadeite Cello brooch, for example, depicts the seductive contours of the musical instrument amid lashings of jadeite and sparkling diamonds. I project my passion for music onto my creations, and the melodic beauty of a song can be felt through the piece’s flowing silhouette, which takes inspiration from Picasso’s Violin Hanging on the Wall and combines with smooth lines to evoke the power of music sweeping people off their feet. The jadeite in the brooch effortlessly incorporates a material from the East with a musical instrument from the West.

My Ellington earrings boast two conch pearls that look like musical notes suspended against baguette-cut diamonds and sapphires. Keyboards and an enchanting melody are visualised in this unique pair of earrings, which incorporate piano keys flowing into the shape of a harp, representing the movement of music, surrounding a conch pearl representing a note and interpreting classical jazz.

The star of the series is, of course, the Dunhuang Pipa necklace, which features a 100.02-carat fancy intense yellow diamond and was sold for US$5.78 million at the auction, setting a new world record for a piece created by a contemporary Chinese jewellery artist.

I could not be more thrilled by the success of the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale and I cannot wait to begin designs for future projects that bring beauty to the world in ways that I cannot yet imagine.

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