Aisha Baker and Hoonik Chang began working together in 2016 - she is a collector and expert in high jewellery art, he is a qualified jewellery designer and graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins art school.
“Although we both spend a lot of time in London, Aisha and I are from different countries: I am from South Korea and she is from Dubai,” explains Hoonik during a presentation of the collection at a gallery on Maddox Street. Aisha adds: “I knew Hoonik’s sister for 8 years before I finally met him, and he had just graduated from Saint Martins. We instantly connected!"
The young graduate’s imagination has sparked some incredible design ideas that he shared with Aisha which she - in turn, thanks to her exquisite taste and understanding of jewellery - has used to achieve the perfect balance between flights of fancy and practicality. Working closely together, the young pair strive to create works of art, personal treasures that can be worn as a reminder of the fact that life is full of magic. Their first jewellery collection, ‘Mirror Mirror’, is a modern interpretation of fairy tales and the world of fantasy.
“The tradition of passing down stories through fairy tales is universal. These stories transcend language barriers and are recognised by everyone, no matter what their background or upbringing is. In South Korea, we no longer have a royal family, so I am very excited by the idea of royalty, tales of princes and princesses,” says Hoonik.
The unusual architecture of the pair’s jewellery is instantly fascinating. The ‘Alcazar’ and ‘Ever After’ rings, and the ‘Alcazar’ bracelet, for example, are all made of clusters of miniature cubes. The ‘Majesty’ ring and earrings have a highly original setting, featuring citrines which appear as though they are floating in mid-air.
There is even a stone hiding inside the ‘Mystère’ ring: only its surface is visible through a small window made of yellow gold and enamel. If you look at the jewellery more closely, then in some of the pieces you will spot several symbols which - according to Korean folklore - bring luck: a fish signifies longevity, a ‘Taegeuk’ from the South Korean flag means harmony, and a flower denotes happiness.
Whilst becoming familiar with the collection, I noticed the absence of necklaces in ‘Mirror Mirror’. Hoonik explained that his muse Aisha does not wear many necklaces, and what’s more, he personally prefers to come up with ring designs.
Each of his creations is founded on several principles which make up the DNA of Aisha Baker: a wide palette of vivid colours (sometimes mixed together in a single piece of jewellery), complex construction (the ‘Alcazar’ ring took a year to make) and three-dimensional design. “We like fun, but we wanted to create something permanent, something with charm. We prefer architectural forms with volumes, rather than flat shapes; we like to see the depth and the cut of the stone,” says Aisha.
Each jewel in the ‘Mirror Mirror’ collection is a limited edition of only 5 pieces, ranging in price from £15,000 to £30,000. Aisha Baker are already looking forward to their next creative endeavour: the brand is currently in the process of producing another collection, due for release at the end of 2018.