Independent jewellery design company Zcova and fashion designer Khoon Hooi are teaming up for a collaboration that melds the worlds of haute couture and fine jewellery, bringing to life in precious metals a unique aesthetic. Launched on zcova.com on Oct 30, this is the online jewellery brand’s first major collaboration and its first with a fashion icon like Khoon Hooi.
Based in their spacious design centre and showroom in Kota Damansara, Zcova’s unique proposition of custom-designed gold and diamond jewellery that can be ordered online has found remarkable success with a younger generation who are not just willing to consider the option of buying jewellery on the internet, but who enjoy the personalisation options that Zcova offers — from the size of the diamond to the choice of gold. Zcova was founded by brothers Low Ziwei (who handles operations) and Low Ziyin, a trained gemmologist who is in charge of design.
The collaboration with Khoon Hooi has actually been a long-time dream of Ziyin’s, who has been a fan of the veteran designer for many years.
“There are many parallels between Khoon Hooi and us,” he shares. “The first time I saw Khoon Hooi’s work was as a child and I really loved it. I grew up appreciating his creations and those of Datuk Bernard Chandran and Datuk Tom Abang Saufi,” he says. “When we finally met Khoon Hooi, we realised how aligned both companies are — we focus on made-to-measure creations, for one, and we share a similar background in oriental-inspired designs.”
Khoon Hooi had never worked with a jewellery company before and jumped at the opportunity to lend his signature aesthetic to Zcova’s range of beautifully made pieces.
“I could not pass up this opportunity to design my first ever jewellery collection with such a revolutionary brand. As a designer, I welcome collaborations, as the synergy between brands has the potential to bring out the very best in creativity and design. With its guidance, Zcova has propelled me to create a collection that is closest to my roots,” he says.
The creative process began with a series of sketches from Khoon Hooi, which Ziyin and his team then interpreted into a collection of gold and gemstone-studded wearables.
“He does not make jewellery, that is our skill. So what we did was take his designs and creative ideas and make them into jewellery that also works for our sense of style,” Ziyin says.
The new collection, which ranges from RM6,000 to RM20,000, is a tribute to oriental emblems that have been passed down through the generations but that subscribe to a modern, timeless aesthetic so they can be worn all year round. Each piece is flawlessly finished and designed with an eye on simplicity and ease of use because Zcova’s founders believe that jewellery only brings someone joy when it is worn and not when stored in a cupboard.
The blossom diamond bangle bends easily to fit my wrist and is a great example — it is easy to put on and Ziwei assures me it is extremely hardy despite the generous sprinkling of diamonds. A ring from the same collection slides on with remarkable comfort, its diamond-studded design element deliberately positioned to provide as much comfort as possible to the wearer.
“We make jewellery that you can wear all the time — there is no point otherwise — and that has always been important to us.” Ziwei says. “Everything we make is like this, as it is to be worn every day.”
Three design inspirations flesh out the customisable collection, which is available in both smaller, more subtle jewellery as well as statement pieces.
Bamboo, signifying rectitude and longevity, is artfully represented in half hoop earrings and a slim gold bracelet while the joyful energy of chrysanthemums is expressed in intricately crafted diamond earrings around a bright, honey-coloured gemstone. Zcova has only recently identified a Swiss supplier of coloured gemstones that meets its standards and this collection is the first to use them.
Other blooms like peonies and plum blossoms are interpreted in rings, earrings and bangles, which allows Zcova’s strength as a jewellery designer to really come through. But if traditional symbols are more to your liking, the Chinese knot is crafted into pink gold earrings while a fan comes alive most magically in white gold and diamonds.
It is unlikely that you will see anyone wearing the exact same earrings or bangle as you because of the personalisation that applies to the collection — and now, instead of only diamonds, you can choose coloured stones as well. The heart of the chrysanthemum earring, for example, can be green if you so please and the peonies do not have to be pink either.
There are other local designers whom Ziwei and Ziyin want to work with in the future but, the resulting collaborations will stay true to what Zcova stands for — fully customisable, flawlessly finished and modern, timeless and simply beautiful jewellery.
This article first appeared on Oct 29, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.