Taiwanese designer Ammie Kang has built a solid reputation in the world of coloured gemstone jewellery, thanks to her innate flair for beauty and artistry.
With more than 22 years of experience in jewellery design, Kang has created countless dazzling collections of jewellery adorned with jadeite, opals, blue and fancy sapphires, emeralds and rubies, among other gemstones.
In a talk with JNA, the designer reveals her creative process and how she forged her own path in the global fine jewellery industry.
JNA: Tell us about your journey as a jewellery designer.
Ammie Kang: I have always been artistic. Since I was little, I have always wanted to build a career in the creative field. I did not come from a family of jewellers but I pursued this calling just the same. I took up an art course in Chicago, which was not entirely related to jewellery design, but I applied the same philosophy to my craft. Authors compose words to articulate their emotions. Artists draw images or paint to convey their life experiences. As for me, I use colours to express what I feel. I love the mystical aura surrounding coloured gemstones, which is why vibrant, enthralling colours dominate my jewellery collections. I began designing my own jadeite jewellery line in 1991. It was also during that time that I established Top Kang Lapidary & Jewellery Arts. By the early 2000s, I started exhibiting in major jewellery trade shows in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. In 2007, some of my works were auctioned off to private collectors at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
JNA: What inspires you to create bespoke coloured gemstone pieces?
Kang: I draw inspiration from life and nature. Being an artist, however, I believe I tend to be more sensitive to my feelings and to those of the people around me, and this sensitivity somehow injects the jewellery with rich emotions. I also brainstorm a lot, which helps bring out new and interesting perspectives for my next creation. I always seek a balance between tradition and fashion, and combine oriental design aspects with western elements. I would like to think that each piece I design tells a story of its own.
JNA: What makes an Ammie Kang jewellery piece stand out?
Kang: Each time I design a jewellery piece, I picture the idea in my head many times and imagine if the overall look is going to be beautiful and artistic. I know it’s primarily a business, but saleability is not my first priority. I’m more concerned about being able to best convey the imagery I’ve formed in my mind and fulfilling my customers’ aesthetic needs. My designs are likewise not confined to a particular style – classic, fashionable or avant-garde – I embrace them all. This is why I always create jewellery collections that are one of a kind.
JNA: How do you design your pieces? Do you look for a stone and then design, or is it the other way around?
Kang: Sometimes the idea comes first. There are moments when I want to express a particular thought or feeling so I would look for a gemstone that best fits the design I have in mind. Sometimes, however, when the colour or cut of a particular stone catches my eye and strikes a chord with me, the idea for a design would come a bit later.
JNA: Who are your buyers?
Kang: We mainly manufacture 18-karat gold jewellery in Taiwan. Our customers are from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China but we recently met buyers from the US, Italy and Russia at international exhibitions. We make it a point to meld the classic look with contemporary designs because each market wants something different. Asian customers, the Chinese in particular, are into jade but we also provide ruby, sapphire, tourmaline and emerald jewellery, among other pieces. With our wide range of products, we are always open to meeting potential clients like private collectors from international trade fairs.
Kang: I always create new pieces and launch fresh collections every year so 2016 and 2017 will be no exception. We are prepared to unveil these new collections in upcoming jewellery shows.