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Frenchman calls China his playground

By Sun Ye | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-21 07:50

 Frenchman calls China his playground

French designer Nicolas Favard takes in an Asian point of view in his creation during his 11 years in China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Nicolas Favard, a French jewelry designer, was wearing two asymmetric earrings on a December day - one bulky and the other, a slimmer one with a stud.

He says ornaments should enhance one's style and complement the wearer's personality.

"They (my earrings) show that I have a bit of this and a bit of that," he says. "But designer jewelry expresses things beyond what words can say."

At 35, Favard has spent 11 years in Beijing. When he first arrived in the country in 2004, few understood what tailor-made contemporary designs were about.

"After the 1960s, people lost the habit of wearing jewelry. Back then, people bought what they saw in magazines," Favard says at his workshop in western Sanlitun.

"They wanted brand-name things that reflected their status," he adds.

When he started teaching jewelry-making at the Central Academy of Fine Arts a decade ago, students tended to look up to European designs for inspiration. At the time, students also preferred working on ideas alone and were inclined to leaving the handcrafting part of the process to professional goldsmiths.

Favard, however, started his career as an apprentice with a local jeweler in his hometown, La Rochelle, at the age of 16. He was trained rigorously in techniques and the nature of different materials. In Europe, the craftsperson is often also the designer, says Favard.

Favard's impression of Chinese ornaments before he set foot in the country was a Chairman Mao badge - he would later develop designs based on the badge.

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