No Smoke Without Flowers is our third collection of fine jewellery.
It is a rich and sultry collection inspired by the myths of 19th Century opium dens or Hua-yan jians, known informally as flower-smoke rooms. In these establishments the smoke was the intoxicating opium and the flowers the female courtesans who frequented them. The courtesans worked by ‘selling their smile’, but unlike modern prostitutes who performed only sex acts, these young girls – chosen for their beauty and talent – were professionally trained in the arts of calligraphy, singing and dance. Courtships were lengthy and often expensive, with customers bestowing gifts such as jewellery on their female associates. The courtesans survived only as long as they could charm. Some became Buddhist nuns at the end of their careers; tenacious others transformed themselves into noblewomen and even empresses.
No Smoke Without Flowers draws on the visual language of the Orient, as well as the legends surrounding the opium dens of this time. The palette here is rich in jewel-like tones, with deep reds, purples, dark blues, black diamonds and royal greens dominating. References to the courtesans can be most notable seen in the use of carved flowers and floral motifs, such as with the Tea House Earrings or Flower Bomb Earrings. Many of the pieces draw direct inspiration from real characters from this time, such as the Pistil Ring, named after a famous madam and designed with her in mind. The Shanghai Fire Ring similarly imagines the bright lights and warm glow of the city in this era, with the citrines and smoky quartzes imitating the oil lamps and candles illuminating the streets.
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