Fine Art Asia 2023 Academic Programme

Contemporary Chinese Art Jewels and The Silk Road

Presented by Fine Art Asia

Speakers: Mr Dickson Yewn, Artist and founder of YEWN, Hong Kong
Date: 7 October 2023 (Saturday)
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Language: Cantonese

Jewellery is inarguably one of the oldest forms of art, it is a material culture indispensible in any royal and imperial culture in the world with the use of gold and precious stones. The beauty of jewellery came in many forms and materials depending on the geographic location of the people who created it. But sadly, the balance of the world had tilted to favor science and technology over arts and humanity…Since the beginning of industrialization in the late 18th century and the expansion of colonialism, a daunting amount of such diverse beauty was fast disappearing. With the further industrialization in the New World, and the eventual hegemony of the America, the world became one globalized world with homogenous culture, especially evident in big cities with globalized citizens flocking to buy Occidental luxury brands after the Oriental old world order was dismantled by waves of new technology and inventions.

Fortunately, the dawn of the 21st-century glimmered with the hope of the return of many lost jeweled art from many rich cultures worldwide with the slowing down of globalization and the rise of the Orient. Yewn, the founder of the one of the contemporary oriental jewelry brands, YEWN, has spent the last 23 years bringing back traditional Chinese culture back into world’s contemporary jewellery lifestyle. Yewn’s position as a jewellery brand is unique in China. In the West he is a bridge to understanding China’s culture and its extraordinary past, and he stands out among a sea of independent and international jewellery brands from all over the world. Simply put, Yewn is a historian at heart; a traveller across continents, he is a man on a mission. Yewn decided early on in his career that he wanted to link people to their past as other independent jewellery designers such as Sevan Biçakçi from Istanbul has done for his culture in Istanbul, and Ilias Lalaounis and, more recently, Loren Nicole have done for ancient Greece. Yewn, through his fine jewellery collections, links people with the works of art and the great history of China.

Without such effort, many material cultures from the Orient would only end up in national museums, hibernating for the nation’s youth to rediscover in one far- away future.





Yewn is the quintessential modern-day literatus. His contemporary jewellery is a crystallisation of thousands of years of Chinese material history. Square rings rub shoulders with antique porcelain forms, shapes taken from Ming furniture, and the geometric latticework found in Chinese architecture. Yewn focuses on these traditional Chinese motifs but also understands the significance of different materials. Wood, one of the five elements of the Taoist philosophy of nature, is present in most of his collections.

Since childhood, Yewn has devoted himself to the arts, fascinated by the Chinese history, aesthetics and culture surrounding him. While working as a painter and full-time artist, Yewn began designing fine jewelry for his patrons in 1995. Lyrical themes featured collections such as Lattice, Paper Cut, Manchurian, Lock of Good Wishes, and Glorious Peony. In 2011, the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, wore his iconic Lattice Jadeite Ring during a dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The ring caught the eyes of many of the guests at the event and redefined the boundaries of traditional Chinese jewels.