By Bernardette Sto. Domingo
Taiwanese designer Harry Lu spent 30 years in the electronics industry before finding his true calling: Designing jewellery. In this interview, Lu talks about his seamless transition to the creative field and discovering his innate talent in the arts.
Harry Lu designed his first jewellery piece fresh out of retirement in 2015 – an agate bracelet featuring a bejewelled box as centrepiece. A fitting tribute of love and devotion to his wife who passed away a few years ago, the symbolic bracelet was also the catalyst in Lu’s newly found career in the fine jewellery realm.
“I was in the semiconductor industry for three decades. I didn’t really have the passion for it. My educational background was in electronics so I practised it for many years,” he revealed. “But there was always this urge in me to create.”
At the time, Lu’s niece told him about a jewellery show in Taiwan, which further fuelled his curiosity and desire to become a designer, and eventually put up his titular brand.
A romantic by nature, Lu decided to pay homage to his wife by immortalising his love for her through a bespoke bracelet.
“My wife had beautiful agates in her possession and when she died, I decided to turn them into a bracelet. I included a little box as the bracelet’s key feature. The box, which can be opened, symbolises my memories of her. Sadly, I lost the piece,” he disclosed.
Over the years, he has replicated this one-of-a-kind design using agate or jade, and blue or Padparadscha sapphires, among his many creations. Lu has designed 10 bespoke pieces since embarking on his artistic journey in 2015.
His inspirations vary from personal experiences to religious beliefs and nature, particularly his own garden. But one underlying factor in all his designs is love, according to Lu.
“I derive inspiration from the heart; mainly from my love for my wife and my daughters. Everything comes from my eccentric mind,” he continued. “Sometimes I would come across a stone that inspires me or I would think of a design and later look for the perfect stone. I also write poetry. There’s a special poem for each of my designs.”
A Harry Lu piece is usually adorned with sapphires, diamonds, jade and other coloured gemstones of the highest quality in 18-karat gold.
Lu’s creative process does not involve any elaborate scheme. In fact, the designer can simply sit in a corner and come up with ways to reinvent items as mundane as a lamp.
“Everyone’s process is different but I find inspiration in almost anything. Ideas just come to me,” he noted.
He described his pieces as meaningful with a subtle sense of luxury. Among his signature pieces is the Mysterious Cat brooch, which comes in two versions – Elegance and Glamour. Elegance, adorned with diamonds, moonstones, tsavorites and sapphires, combines the magical and sophisticated allure of blue and purple colours. Glamour, for its part, evokes romance and drama through the clever use of rubies and black diamonds.
Another highlight of his maiden collection is the Heart of Forest ring, which features a fairy and whimsical mix of diamonds and coloured gemstones. According to Lu, the fairy symbolises purity and innocence amid chaos.
“All my pieces come with a poem that tells the story of the jewellery and the emotions that were poured into the piece. I want to write a poem for every jewellery that I design. It’s quite different; this is my certification. It makes the pieces all the more special,” remarked Lu.
Moving forward, the designer is eyeing to make a necklace using a 61-carat emerald that he had purchased, as well as a pair of earrings.
“I have a lot of ideas under my sleeve. It’s going to be an exciting year and I can’t wait to see all my unique, beautiful design ideas come to fruition,” said Lu.