For the last 15 years, the Hong Kong-based luxury jewelry designer has drawn inspiration from China’s rich cultural past imbuing his designs with Chinese symbolism, while striving to keep them contemporary.

“I’ve always wanted to contemporize traditional art and crafts. It has nothing to do with nostalgia for a bygone era; my ambition is to create a modernity that belongs to China, the way Japanese designers have succeeded in creating their own modernity. Think what Issey Miyake has done in terms of bringing a contemporary Japanese aestheticism to the world,” explains the 45-year-old designer adding,

“Chinese jewelry designs should capture the ‘Chinese soul.’ Jewelry should not just look pretty, it should tell a story, it should have some symbolism.” Yewn, who has studied Chinese culture extensively and collects small literati items and antiques — “anything I can afford” — says he would have loved to have lived during the Song Dynasty because of its scholarly discipline and studious approach to art.