From Asia and jewellery, you are now familiar with many designers such as Wallace Chan, Anna Hu or Cindy Chao. But now you have to take into account the house initiated by a very young designer, barely thirty years old and with an undeniable talent: Feng J.
Her work had caught my attention on social networks, which are now essential in this sector, where the house regularly publishes photos of its latest creations. It was through this medium that we got in touch and I had the chance to meet the designer during a meeting at the Costes Hotel in Paris, which is located a stone’s throw from Place Vendôme. A cosy, intimate and perfect place for a private meeting about jewellery and beautiful stones.
White gold butterfly brooch / pendant, diamonds, pink sapphires including a 5.5 carat centre. Photo: Feng J.
Feng J. was born in 1985 and grew up in a world where art was very important. Her great-grandfather was one of the painters of the imperial family of China under the Qing dynasty and her family has always collected rare objects that testify to the know-how of Chinese craftsmen, sometimes forgotten nowadays. From this upbringing, in which she benefited from a great cultural openness to the world, it is towards jewellery that she will carry her desire to create. As she explained to me, jewellery is passed on and is intended to be a carrier of values but also of family history. Its temporality is not to be demonstrated and she likes the idea that it remains in time. More than an art object, it is an object that is appropriated.
Jardin des Tuileries brooch / pendant in white and yellow gold, diamonds, yellow diamonds, sapphires and coloured sapphires. The centre is a 15 carat tanzanite. Photo: Feng J.
But before you can offer it, you have to make it. And to do that, you have to be trained. Her path led her first to the China Academy of Art, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in product design. There she learned to make each object beautiful and functional. She then moved to London and the University of the Arts where she specialised in jewellery. This period of her life gave her the chance to join the jewellery department of Alexander McQueen. Then stones became concrete thanks to the GIA where she validated a Graduate Gemologist title and the Gübelin Laboratory where she completed her training. Finally, she went to Paris and the BJOP to learn the techniques of jewellery making. The school, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, has long been a leading institution in the French and European jewellery industry.
Butterfly Dream brooch / pendant in yellow gold, enamel, white and yellow diamonds, rose-cut diamonds, South Sea gold pearl and yellow sapphires. Photo: Feng J.
While the house was officially unveiled in Shanghai in 2016, the designer made a name for herself in 2015 when she sold one of her unique pieces to a collector at Poly Auction (HK). Today, Feng J. has an office in Paris and has chosen the capital to manufacture her creations. Proof that France and the city of Paris still have an undeniable attraction for designers who find there the necessary know-how to produce both exceptional pieces and more “accessory” ranges. Nearly 300 pieces have been made since the brand was launched and around 80 pieces leave the French workshops each year. A private jeweller, who does not exhibit much for the pleasure of his customers who appreciate the discretion of the house. A pleasure that I also share.
Brooch / pendant The Swan in white gold, diamonds, moonstones and opal. Photo: Feng J.
Stones are extremely present in the house’s work. Just like today’s Chinese jewellery, which puts gems at the heart of its creations. This jewellery – rich, colourful and often bewitching – requires a high degree of technical mastery, as the settings must be able to support the weight of the stones. Here, the pieces are made of gold but also of titanium, which is now everywhere; making the jewels lighter, thus allowing almost any boldness! This jewellery is reminiscent of that of Joël Arthur Rosenthal – JAR – which for many years has integrated silver but also aluminium into its creations, and which was audacious in its time and is now celebrated. Like a tribute, like a continuity. Asia has not finished surprising us and I am already looking forward to discovering the next creations of this house.
See you soon!
Cover photo (Feng. J): Le Cotillon brooch/pendant in yellow and white gold, diamonds, coloured sapphires and a 12-carat pink tourmaline centre.