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Heritage Museum explores cultural value of jewellery

More than 200 sets of jewellery from the collection of renowned local manufacturers and designer brands will be on display at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum from tomorrow (May 17) until February 16, 2009.

Entitled "Jewellery for Life", the exhibition, the last in the Heritage Museum's Design Series, explores from different perspectives the cultural and historical values of jewellery.

The exhibition was opened today (May 16) by the Deputy Director (Culture) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Chung Ling-hoi, and the guest curator of the exhibition, Ms Lo Kai-yin.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Chung said that since opening in late 2000, the Heritage Museum's mission had been to organise an annual thematic exhibition and related activities. As "design" plays an increasingly important role in the local creative industry, the "Hong Kong Design Series" is curated to feature various disciplines of design, its diversity and achievements. To take the idea off the drawing board, six guest curators, who are prominent designers or scholars in their own disciplines, were invited to apply innovative and creative conceptual thinking to the series.

"The current exhibition is curated by Ms Lo Kai-yin, an internationally renowned jewellery designer. Ten renowned local manufacturer brands and designers have also been invited to showcase their representative works which demonstrate not only their creativity, but also the design features of different time periods," Mr Chung said.

Jewellery and accessories have been worn since ancient times. While each ethnic group might have its own characteristics and preferences, people all over the world are equally attracted to jewellery and adornment regardless of their geographic location or cultural background. Through trading and warfare, different nations interacted and influenced each other in terms of culture and lifestyle. Many of the ancient jewellery items unearthed are funeral objects of ancestors. A plentiful supply of relics enables people to reconstruct the evolution of jewellery design and craftsmanship from primitive tribal ornaments to the jewellery of the ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilisations, providing an insight into the way people used to live.

Hong Kong has long been an important trading port after becoming a British colony in 1842. After 1949, Hong Kong was transformed from a provincial port in southern China into a new home to migrant industrialists, merchants and artisans from the Mainland, who contributed to the blossoming of the jewellery industry. With the gradual expansion of trading with the Mainland and the further expansion of its role as an entrepot, Hong Kong is now the world's third largest exporter of fine jewellery.

Hong Kong's jewellery industry covers all kinds of precious items. In the fine jewellery category, Hong Kong's most popular product is gem-set jewellery. Hong Kong is also a leading producer of pure gold items, and has long been recognised as a major centre for the production of jade accessories.

The exhibition consists of three parts. The first part reveals the meaning and history of jewellery, and also the material symbol of their status in the world. The second part reviews the history and development of Hong Kong jewellery industry from traditional goldsmiths, through OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) for global export to manufacturers' own brand (ODM, or Original Design Manufacturing) and, more recently, the emergence of designer brands (OBM, or Original Brand Manufacturing). The third part introduces jewellery brands and trends through showcasing representative works selected from 10 renowned local manufacturers and designer brands. Experimental works by three novel designers will also be featured.

The participating brands and designers in this exhibition are: Chow Sang Sang Jewellery Co., Limited, Chow Tai Fook, Lorenzo Jewelry Limited, Luk Fook Group, Noble Jewelry Holdings Limited, Peter Baer, Edmond Chin, Edward Chiu, Lo Kai-yin, Dickson Yewn, and three emerging designers: Cicy Ching, Carol Kwong and Hugo Yeung.

Located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, the Heritage Museum opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Admission is $10, with a half-price concession for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and full-time students. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

Car parking is available at the Heritage Museum. Those who prefer to use public transport may take the MTR to the Che Kung Temple station, which is within five minutes' walk of the museum.

For enquiries, call 2180 8188. For details of the exhibition, visit the Heritage Museum's website at .

Ends/Friday, May 16, 2008
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