In two weeks, China will celebrate the Year of the Rooster, beginning on January 27 with Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve and ending on February 11 with the Lantern Festival. In order to capitalize on the country’s most frenzied shopping season, many high-end labels have released Spring Festival-themed luxury items that are indicative of Chinese cultural elements and practices.
Jewelry and charms, in particular, attract attention from Chinese consumers because they're a top choice for the traditional gift exchange among family and friends during the holiday, and often consumers want a charm with their own Zodiac animal. Still, their popularity suggests luxury jewelry products should be appealing to Chinese consumers during this season regardless as to whether their design is New Year-related or not, and some doubt the necessity for luxury brands to make New Year-themed jewelry.
Florence Li, a Chinese millennial who works in the e-commerce industry in Europe, likes to purchase luxury jewelry as gifts for her family members. However, she “strongly dislikes” New Year-themed products. “I think they are targeting people older than me and customers who don’t quite understand the luxury world and who have different tastes from me,” she said.
Another frequent buyer of luxury, Estella Yu, who is an economics teacher in Ningbo, China, said her main concern with CNY-themed jewelry is that inappropriate cultural references to Chinese elements will largely downgrade the high-class image of luxury brands.
Still, it seems some brands have passed the test with consumers this year with their special collections—Dior, for instance, attracted praise from fashion blogger Mr. Bags for its rooster bracelet (see below). Other major jewelers have yet to (or have chosen not to) release CNY designs, including Bvlgari, Buccellati, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston.
Below are six ways in which jewelry designers have taken up the challenge of crafting rooster imagery in their designs this season.
David Yurman - Lunar New Year Collection#
The American designer jewelry brand David Yurman released a "Lunar New Year collection" that includes pieces with gold, garnet, rubies, and diamonds, in honor of the Year of Rooster. The brand also prepares red envelopes as a complimentary gift to customers.
On the brand’s official WeChat account, MIKIMOTO posted its special design for the Year of the Rooster, the MIKIMOTO Double Eight collection. The design was inspired by the Arabic number eight (8). In Chinese culture, eight is a lucky number, as its pronunciation is similar to the word “fa” (which means “making a fortune”). The necklace consists of 88 diamonds that are 8-8.8 mm in diameter, implying a year of great fortune ahead.
The French luxury powerhouse is celebrating the Year of the Rooster with a pendant necklace featuring a rooster whose design plays upon iconic Louis Vuitton details, including corners and studs referencing its historic trunks.
This gold-tone finish bracelet with a white resin bead and red lacquer features two symbolic lucky colors. The “Diorelita” bracelet is currently the most discussed luxury jewelry item on Chinese social media. Luxury handbag blogger, Mr. Bags praised Dior’s design in comparison with last year’s monkey-themed one. Renee Hua, a Shanghai-based overseas purchasing agent, told Jing Daily, “Diorelita is the best-seller under the category of jewelry at my place.” Cartier, Tiffany, Pandora, and Henry Winston are examples of jewelry brands that are popular among her clients, she said.
This rooster charm designed by Tiffany came out years ago with Paloma’s 12 Chinese Zodiac collection. It is sterling silver with a black enamel finish.
Baccarat - Zodiac Rooster#
Fine crystal retailer Baccarat celebrates the upcoming Chinese New Year with a decorative rooster in clear and red crystal.