Peranakan culture on display in jewellery

Jewellery designers are taking inspiration from the culture, incorporating embroidery, beading and bright colours with a twist

Hand-woven capsule necklaces with 24k gold chain,$249 each PHOTOS: CHINOISERIE BLU, CHOO YILIN, EDEN + ELIE, INDOCAFE - THE WHITE HOUSE
Hand-woven 24k gold-plated bangles, $189 each PHOTOS: CHINOISERIE BLU, CHOO YILIN, EDEN + ELIE, INDOCAFE - THE WHITE HOUSE

Trendy Peranakan-inspired jewellery and fashion are all the rage now - with international designers such as Chinese haute couturier Guo Pei incorporating elements of Peranakan design into the Spring/Summer 2013 couture collection.

The trend was blasted into mainstream consciousness after the launch of popular 2008 Channel 8 drama, The Little Nyonya.

Since then, designers have perfected the marrying of Peranakan style - rich embroidery, handmade beading and a bright colour palette - with a modern twist.

Here are some Peranakaninspired accessories.

Eden + Elie

The label's most recent collection features hand-woven beaded designs inspired by kebaya patterns and uses blue, yellow or vermillion Japanese seed beads.

Its founder, Ms Stephanie Choo, 46, says her appreciation for Peranakan design goes beyond colours and patterns.

She says her label (, which she launched in 2015, is not a Peranakan brand, but rather, one that is inspired by the love of making that is part of Peranakan culture.

"Whether it is in beading, garment-making or cooking, there is an incredible attention to detail and sometimes even painstaking effort to create these exquisite pieces, which express the maker's commitment to the craft," she says.

Hand-woven capsule necklaces with 24k gold chain (pictured), $249 each Hand-woven 24k gold-plated bangles (pictured), $189 each


Chinoiserie Blu

The label ( launched in December last year and features pieces with Chinese influences (including Peranakan culture) fused with Western aesthetics.

Its upcoming Clouds Collection, which is slated to launch in about three months, will feature a cloud motif that is Peranakan-inspired.

Mr Way Tay, 47, its founder and designer, says: "There is so much to love about Peranakan culture, from its distinctive decor and architecture to its intricately embroidered kebaya and hand-beaded sandals."

Bamboo earrings in 925 sterling silver with palladium, rodium-plated (pictured), US$155 (S$220)

Square bamboo 18K gold-plated bangle in 925 sterling silver with palladium (pictured), US$235


Choo Yilin

The label's ( current Peranakan Flower and Peranakan Lace collections draw inspiration from the traditional Nonya kebaya.

Its upcoming Shophouse collection, which will launch next Wednesday, is inspired by the pastel-hued facade of Peranakan shophouses and the long, angular silhouette of its timber windows and doors.

Ms Choo Yilin, 35, who founded her eponymous jewellery label in 2008, says: "Modern interpretations of the Peranakan culture and aesthetic serve as ways to keep heritage and tradition alive through the generations."

Shophouse Gemstone Earrings in white rhodium, light blue chalcedony and green amethyst (pictured), $328 (on sale from Wednesday)

Peranakan Flower Trio Bangle in rose gold, white rhodium, rhodolite garnet and pink amethyst (pictured), from $3,000


Indocafe - The White House

The restaurant, which serves Peranakan food, started selling Peranakan-inspired purses and bags late last year.

The bags and purses are made of batik-print cloth embroidered with beads. They are designed and produced in Indonesia.

Beaded Boston shoulder bag, $89.80

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline Peranakan culture on display in jewellery. Subscribe