Manchester Romeos who have yet to buy something for that special someone this Valentine’s Day need look no further than the stunning collections by award-winning jewellery designer Fei Liu.
The Chinese-born designer, who is now based in Birmingham, stepped from behind his workbench to sit down with MM and discuss his inspirations, the road to success and hopes for the future.
Fei’s love of art and design started at the age of 11 when he was introduced to Western art styles such as oil and acrylic painting.
While visiting Hong Kong, aged 19, his eyes were opened to the wealth of directions open to him in the world of art and design, particularly precious and semi-precious stones.
“I became transfixed by gemstones – their value and the idea that no stones are ever the same” he said.
“When I returned from Hong Kong my mind was made up, and I decided to take my first steps into the jewellery industry.”
In an attempt to marry his two passions, gemstones and art, Fei studied Jewellery and Silversmithing at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery and established his own self-titled brand.
It is clear when speaking to Fei that he has an insatiable enthusiasm for sketching new designs and crafting exquisite jewellery.
“As a designer my inspiration comes from every day and every object in my life, inspiration exists every minute, everywhere and in every corner,” he said.
“If you pay enough attention to your life you can use this, I carry around a sketchbook and I take pictures on my phone capturing whatever I see.”
And it’s not just everyday objects that influence his designs.
Fei explained: “I am constantly astonished by nature, with its own beautiful three dimensional shapes, curves, forms and all the small details you see every day.
“Unusual gemstones and vibrant colours also have a strong influence on my work.”
In the past Fei’s pieces have been worn by the likes of Kimberley Walsh, Marcia Cross, Christine Bleakley and Zhang Ziyi.
When asked about which design is his favourite, he was quick to reply with a look of mock horror.
“All my pieces are special to me – I never choose a favourite!” he said
“They’re my babies, you don’t choose! Each has a different beauty.”
Looking to the future Fei seems optimistic about his business, and the wider jewellery industry.
He added: “I really hope that the British jewellery industry could become as recognised as the British fashion industry and show the true creativity that Britain is providing to the world.”
Fei’s jewellery is retailed in more than 30 boutiques throughout the UK and has been exhibited in Liberty and Harrods.
His new collection Cascade, inspired by the flow and current of moving water, is available in-store and online at http://www.feiliu.co.uk/
The range is also available at Green + Benz Manchester.