Yi Collection : That new new

Gotta love when a new collection launches. It always feels like Christmas. What I love about Yi Collection is how beautifully Yi uses colored gemstones. The former Vogue-editor has a fantastic sense of style and you can tell how much she loves creating new pieces. You can tell she enjoys putting together unique color schemes and modern designs with a classic twist. I mean, look at her newest pieces! If you’re already familar with her work you can she went bigger and bolder, but still sleek though all at once. Being a jewelry designer after her fashion career is truly her one big love, as she says herself “I feel like I’ve finally found my true love” and you can definitely see that in her designs. I can imagine this transition has been quite a journey but she has found her path.

Yi on how she got started as a designer and about her career-switch: “My adult career after college has always been in New York City in the magazine business or doing styling. The Apex was my style editor’s position at Vogue China in Shanghai, my birth place. I instantly fell in love with the city and after finishing my Vogue contract, I decided to stay in the bustling city. The career change happened gradually and naturally. I took small metals in college and so always had an affinity to jewelry. I had in the back of my mind to make jewelry but didn’t know how to start. After my demanding Vogue styling job, I decided to travel around Asia, particularly Sri Lanka and Myanmar (aka Burma) where the world’s best sapphires and rubies come from. I started collecting small gemstones and had them made into chain rings. I actually don’t know where the idea came from but it sort of just sprung up on me. I wore my little multi gemstones chain rings all the time and soon my friends were buying them off my fingers.”

“My break was when the head buyer of 10 Corso Como saw potential in them- the chain rings. At that time, I produced my pieces in Yangon, Burma, where the goldsmiths weighed their pieces in the equivalent of gold in order to figure out their labor costs. It was a very stark contrast to life in NYC or even Shanghai. I launched my collection at 10 Corso Como Shanghai back in February 2015. After seeing a bit of success with the collection I knew I had to streamline my production better since the very traditional Burmese way for costing labor was not scalable. I got a hint from my Burmese gems dealer to go to Bangkok to find production. All she said was, it’s in this area call Silom. That’s like saying it’s in this area called Soho. I basically roamed the streets of Silom going door to door armed with my chain rings and sign language until I finally found a goldsmith who could make them. It makes me laugh thinking about it actually.”

Some of Yi’s newest designs

“Now I own my own production studio in the same building as my original goldsmith and have a team of 4 and hope to welcome new staff this year. The collection has evolved from chain rings into something much bigger than I’d ever imagined. I’m really humbled by it all. In the process of doing this business I have met amazing men and woman who have helped me along the way. It’s an incredible journey.”

I also had to ask Yi on her current favorite piece:
“My favorite piece of jewelry right now is this emerald and white topaz cascade earrings. These white Topazes are custom cut for me! They are an elongated emerald cut. Who would have imagined that I could have a custom cut gemstone! There is another pair of cascade earrings in amethyst and ruby that are also custom cut.” – says Yi.

On a personal note, Yi has learned me to love colors. Her designs let me also adore colorful drop earrings. I’ll always be a lover of small earrings myself but she has gotten me fascinated towards her dainty and classy earrings. So Yi, thanks for that! Colors bring so much more joy in life and her sleek and neat designs are just perfect to work with all kind of shapes and colored gems. So, so, so good!


All images and info thank to Yi Collection | Collages and edit by MoJ