After more than three decades of working as a goldsmith and metalwork instructor, jewellery designer Bibi Cheung decided it was time to build a brand that is joyful to experience.
One of the founders of a contemporary jewellery studio, Bibi understands the industry's gradual adoption of mix-and-match trends. She spent ten years running classes and workshops in Hong Kong, and for more than twice as long, creating objects that embrace the soulful qualities that gemstones bear.
For the release of three series under Thera, a jewellery collection inspired by a love of Greek culture since her first marriage, Bibi shares about her background in the jewellery world. She also opens up with her involvement with the design of TVRRINI's recent collection.
As well as Kara, there are two other series, Lava and Nisi, that complete Thera as a larger collection. How are you embracing jewellery as a medium?
I like spending time to make both the front and back of a piece of the same fine quality. For these series, I wanted there to be no 'front and back'. They are both meant to be worn for any occasion by quickly changing either side.
I play a lot with material colour matching, shapes, and patterns to create a fun way of mix-and-match designs. The whole collection can be worn as standalone pieces or combined together.
Give us an idea of the quality that you wish to achieve. How long is the process of making a piece from the Thera collection?
A lot of the time, the process takes much longer than I expect. While I craft the wax with the stones and add details to see the piece being slowly created, there is a satisfaction. The process is sometimes hard when I need to make a decision about when to stop and feel that I'm totally satisfied.
What is a highlight of this collection that you want people to know?
We select the stones first, then we craft jeweller's wax over the stones. That allows us to brings a softness to the overall look as well as act as setting for the design.
What do you like about pink gold as a precious metal?
I find that pink gold is romantic. Because of the soft tone of its colours, they strongly blend into gemstones that I have collected. I think that pink gold has always given off a sophisticated, warm feeling to the wearer.
What are some lessons that you want to share from the last two years?
Even in these crazy last two years, our creativity has not stopped. We believe that the only way to build is by not stopping.
The mess when I am creating a sample of jewellery on my bench sometimes gets to the point where I have no space to work on anymore. Then I will tell myself off and tidy up.
Is there someone you would like to give special thanks to?
I want to thank anyone who I know and don't know for not giving up on hope. A lot of stories give me a lot of positive inspiration. That motivates me to create something pleasing to see and brings up a little joy for a collection.
I also want to thank nature. We need the four seasons to create different atmospheres. We need nature with us to grow plants, feed animals, and nurture ourselves.
What is a piece of advice that has changed your life?
Keep doing what is true for yourself. Never give up, no matter the situation.
What moment from your past still applies to today?
I learned to respect what I do from my teachers and family. My teachers gave me knowledge. My family gives me strength.
How do you begin your days?
Coffee. My first sentence after waking up is always, "Did you make coffee yet?"
What do you do when you're not online or plugged in?
I like to spend time with my family and friends, craft, paint, shop, exercise—just like everyone else.