IN CONVERSATION WITH ANNA HU

She’s the first Asian Haute Joaillerie designer to be included on the official Parisian Haute Couture calendar. A few days ago at the Ritz Hotel in Place Vendôme, Anna Hu revealed her new creations to the international public, dedicating this interview especially to our readers.

Accepted this year as an official member of the Comité de la Haute Joaillerie, Anna Hu has always been known by connoisseurs for her wisdom in combining the traditions of Chinese culture with the impeccable skills of French jewellery. Her style? A romantic “allure”, colourful and vibrant that veils a sophisticated savoir faire (realised in her Parisian atelier) and an uncompromising passion for the Arts.   

The stars of this collection are ten unique creations returning to the theme of flora and fauna so dear to the artists, each of which designed to exalt the beauty of an exceptional, rare stone selected from the universe of gems. Amid star sapphires, chrysoberyls, peridots and symphonies of diamonds, Anna Hu chooses transformability as the essential characteristic for high jewellery. But the concepts underlying the contemporary lines of her designs are drawn from much the same place as music and poetry, from the score of the emotions.

Pétales d’Amour White gold ring with star sapphire (15.16 cts), 3 rose-cut oval diamonds (0.51 cts), 10 rose-cut diamonds (0.51 cts), 2 grey diamonds (0.13 cts), 6 pink diamonds (0.20 cts), 3 brilliant cut diamonds (0.60 cts), 12 amethysts (0.22 cts),  33 blue sapphires (2.45 cts), 4 purple sapphires (0.13 cts),1 pink sapphire (0.17 cts), 22 sapphires (1.21 cts), 3 purpose sapphires (0.06 cts), 6 pink sapphires (0.07 cts), 194 brilliant cut round diamonds (4.44 cts) // Earring set with two star sapphires (12.07 cts and 12.46 cts), 2 rose-cut oval diamonds (1.86 cts), 478 brilliant cut diamonds (8.10 cts), 397 brilliant cut diamonds (2.22 cts).

 

F.1.M. : When to you start out on your journey into the universe of gemmology?

A.H. : I was born and raised in a family that already had strong ties with the world of precious stones: my father was a diamond dealer. When I was little I used to love standing beside him as he sorted and selected all the different types of gems. That’s how I started out, learning from him. He was always absolutely uncompromising in his commitment to present only the very best stones to his clients. This value has always inspired me, and now I create my own collections with the same dedication and the same promise.

F.1.M. : Everyone knows that Anna Hu isn’t just an Haute Joaillerie designer, but an artist with a intense passion for classical music. How do these two worlds combine in your creativity?

A.H. : When I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming a cellist, and I was fortunate enough to have received a very strict, solid education, specialising in that instrument. It was always my dream to be able to play on stage and be the best ever soloist! I grew up practising hard every day. At the time it was the most important thing in my life. I think all this is rather similar to the work I do today, designing high jewellery. Both are art forms that demand devotion and highly dedicated passion, and both inspire me constantly in my efforts to achieve the very best. And more, they have always given me strength to get though even the most difficult of times. Classical music and high jewellery are forms of art that generate something truly memorable, and bring joy and happiness into the lives of people. On my part, I use precious stones as if they were my musical notes for creating my own personal symphony of jewels.

Delphinium Flower : Bracelet in white gold with one star sapphire (78.48 cts),  18 green tsavorites (3.52 cts), 4 coloured sapphires (1.13 cts), 7 Paraiba tourmalines (1.47 cts), 117 briolette-cut fancy sapphires (85.21 cts), 40 briolette-cut diamonds (18.51 cts), 2 teardrop diamonds (0.30 cts), 2 marquise diamonds (0..30 cts), 1085 brilliant-cut diamonds (29.12 cts). Here, an example of how Anna Hu incorporates floral motifs into her creations, inspired on the nuances of the star sapphire, the delphinium flower and positivist attitude. Here the designer skilfully uses sapphires and briolette-cut diamonds to interpret this splendid blue flower // Melody : hite gold bracelet with a cat’s eye chrysoberyl (33.65 cts) GIA certificate 1255192101, 491 blue sapphires (12.37 cts), 17 Paraiba tourmalines (0.31 cts), 2 hauynites (0.02 cts), 67 briolette diamonds (6.75 cts), 51 canary yellow tourmalines (1.90 cts), 21 teardrop diamonds (21 cts), 12 brilliant-cut oval diamonds (1.77 cts), 20 oval diamonds (3.81 cts), 15 marquise-cut diamonds (2.98 cts), 1 pillow cut diamond (0.20 cts), 4 rose cut diamonds (1.77 cts), 1 oval diamond (0.47 cts), 4 teardrop diamonds (1.20 cts), 2 fancy cut diamonds (0.47 cts), 1182 brilliant cut diamonds (33.63 cts), 1026 brilliant cut diamonds (16.99 cts). Different to other yellow tourmalines, it’s the high magnesium content that gives the canary yellow tourmaline its vivacious brilliance and particular shade of lemon yellow. The Melody Bracelet is a classic representation of Anna Hu’s style: a romantic floral motif in perfect dialogue with the inspiration of classical music. Like a symphony, the bracelet’s design is structured just like a musical score, while the leaves and flowers are set like tiny musical notes. The pendant on the other hand evokes the purple of thought.

 

F.1.M. : Through your career you’ve worked with other historic ateliers like Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels in New York. How do you remember those years?

A.H. : They were precious years, for which I am still extremely grateful. While I was working for these important ateliers I had the opportunity to study alongside some of the great masters. When I was with Van Cleef & Arpels I dedicated most of my time helping to order the best stones for the customers, and my years with Harry Winston still have an enormous impression on me! It was Mr Maurice Galli, my mentor while I was with Harry Winston, who encouraged me to take up this new adventure with y own brand. That’s how I came to found ANNA HU HAUTE JOAILLERIE ad open my first jewellery salon at the Plaza Hotel.

F.1.M. : In 2017 David Warren from Christie’s fell in love with your creations and dedicated the opening of Christie’s Jewellery Salon in London to your high jewellery collection. Was that a real new start for you?

A.H. : No, not exactly. David and I had known each other for years, from when I was working at Christie’s. He, too, had been mentor to me, supporting and encouraging me all the time. He was always there for me, and gave me the fantastic opportunity with work with Christie’s, and I’m eternally grateful to him.

F.1.M. : In 2017 Anna Hu was invite to take part in La Biennale des Antiquaires as the first and youngest ever Haute Joaillerie designer to be officially present in the calendar of the Parisian high jewellery week as a formal member of the Comite de la Haute Joaillerie. So your decision to create a brand under your own name is bringing you great success!

A.H. : EIt’s a truly special moment in my life. I feel so proud and honoured to be an ambassador representing Asian culture on the international stage and being able to share my artistic creation inspired by China with whole world. I feel I’ve always had this very important mission, and I’ve always been determined to become the first bridge between East and West, and I’m certain I’ll continue to do so for as long as my jewellery empire manages to survive.

This is my first collection after being invited to join the Comite de la Haute Joaillerie, so I really wanted to present something different. This time I chose ten creations from among my recent works, each one of which characterised by an extraordinary central stone. It’s my way of showing the public all the effort it takes to pick the best quality of stones. Most of the creations I present in Paris are transformable and multi-functional: the jewels can be a bracelet that becomes a brooch, a pendant or even a diadem. I am so happy to be able to share this beautiful collection of mine in Paris.

Mandarin Oriental Ducks: Brooch in yellow and white gold with a peridot (26.13 cts), 2 emeralds (0.10 cts), 2 tear drop tourmalines (2.06 cts), 2 marquise diamonds (1.41 cts), 93 yellow sapphires (2.77 cts), 26 orange sapphires (1.41 cts), 1 purple sapphire (0.23 cts), 311 tsavorite garnets (11.67 cts), 19 peridots (0.25 cts), 93 brilliant cur diamonds (0.59 cts),  20 rubies (1.03 cts). In the tradition of Feng Shui, mandarin ducks (or “Yuan Yang” in Chinese) are considered as the guardians of personal relations between human beings. Indeed, they say that Mandarin ducks chose a single life partner and always remain faithful. The three animals appearing on the brooch are the designer’s tribute to people in love // Leaping Koi: Brooch in yellow and white gold with a rubellite (30.48 cts), 17 brilliant cut diamonds (0.09 cts), 404 brilliant cut diamonds (5.22 cts), 150 sapphires (1.72 cts), 1 Topaz (0.40 cts), 29 yellow diamonds (0.49 cts), 2 teardrop tourmalinesn (0.82 cts). In ancient legend, the Koi carp has a immensely powerful, energetic life force, demonstrated by its capacity to swim against strong currents. The story tells that for a hundred years the most courageous Koi kept trying and trying to jump the waterfalls, and as a reward for this courage were transformed into dragons by the gods. The designer also wanted the brooch to includethe lotus flower, known for being a flower that grows in the muddiest of swamps, but one of the most beautiful for its delicacy. So the jewel symbolises the beauty that emerges even from the most difficult of circumstances, and again represents courage, transformation and inner growth. 

About the author: Laura Canepa

Laura Canepa