Hong Kong Jeweler Nicholas Lieou Is Transforming Diamonds into Dazzling Works of Art
The buzzworthy talent has teamed up with Sotheby’s Diamonds to produce a capsule collection of ten pieces inspired by the beauty of nature
The Hong Kong jewelry designer Nicholas Lieou is all about contrasts. “There is a poetry in paradoxes,” says Lieou, who recently launched his first capsule collection with Sotheby’s Diamonds. “There’s a natural symbiosis between minimalism and maximalism, strength and fragility, masculine and feminine.”
Approaching jewelry as an art form, Lieou started out as an apprentice for Shaun Leane, the avant-garde British designer best known for his collections for Alexander McQueen, before working at Georg Jensen and Shanghai Tang. Following his position as the design director of high jewelry at Tiffany & Co., he launched his own label, Mr. Lieou, in 2019 and has since garnered buzz for his unique style that blends contemporary forms with an opulent rococo flair.
“I always ask, What if?” Lieou tells Galerie. “What if we add this or supersize these proportions? And what can I take away to make this more elegant?”
The capsule collection of ten pieces he has created for Sotheby’s Diamonds, the retail boutique specializing in exceptional stones, is inspired by this yin and yang approach, balancing the powerful beauty of rare gems with his bold, irreverent designs that draw heavily on nature and organic forms like seed pods or suns.
“Aesthetically, I am drawn to sea life, monochromatic graphics, interiors that change your mood, antique Japanese lacquer boxes, the asymmetrical floral displays of Makoto Azuma, Dutch tulip paintings, William Morris. . . . I could go on!” he continues.
Standout creations include his Reishi Edge earrings, which feature a dramatic fan of ebony eclipsing a pair of round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 3.15 carats and 3.01 carats; the Pod ring, a spectacular fancy, deep blueish-green, cushion-cut diamond weighing 4.40 carats that shimmers from a cocoon of reverse-set pavé diamonds; and Willow earrings, which feature a cascade of pavé-set diamonds spilling from a pair of D-color, internally flawless pear-shaped diamonds weighing 5.24 carats and 5.28 carats.
“I have been following Nicholas’s work for many years,” says Patti Wong, founder and chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds, which functions independently of the Sotheby’s auction business. “Nicholas has a unique vision, a constant and fearless desire to innovate, nurtured by a deep knowledge of the history of jewelry.”