‘Jewellery shouldn’t only look interesting from the top’: Lia Lam’s modernist jewellery designs

New jewellery designer Lia Lam presents her debut collection

Lia Lam rings on purple vegetable on white plate
(Image credit: Lia Lam)

Traditional design is given a modernist spin by jewellery designer Lia Lam, who subverts classic concepts in her debut collection. Seemingly minimalist pieces in 18ct gold, platinum and diamonds cut sculptural silhouettes, juxtaposing bold lines against sweeping curves dotted with diamonds.

‘Jewellery shouldn't only look interesting from the top,’ says Lam. ‘[That] every angle [is] considered and offers a point of interest is one of my key design philosophies, inspired by my past experience as a dancer. Each dancer entertains and each move is a three-dimensional consideration. Dancing also taught me the power of subtlety and subtraction. Behind clean lines and precise finishing lie evocative stories, and a long research and development process. The spirit of my work lies in reducing my concepts to their very essence, wherein lies power.’

woman wearing rings by Lia Lam on her fingers

(Image credit: Lia Lam)

Lam celebrates the purity of the metal itself, focusing on its structural form rather than giving it a supporting role for the diamonds. ‘They give structure, volume and meaning,’ Lam adds. ‘They are ductile, malleable, and can be recycled and transformed in limitless ways. All my designs impart a pleasing weight and presence on the finger and the body due to the solid metal components.’

woman wearing Lia Lam rings on her fingers

(Image credit: Lia Lam)

For Lam, the biggest challenge she has encountered when creating her debut designs is keeping the emphasis on simplicity. ‘Balancing craft with the concept is a challenge,’ she says. ‘For example, when the Lagom collection was conceptualised, I wanted to explore the notion of “just right”, in a partnered dance and in life. We tried different ways of assembling and at least three different ways of setting the diamond until the desirable outcome was safely achieved. Trying to represent life's idiosyncrasies in their most reduced form is difficult but satisfying. Finding open-minded partners, and taking them along with my vision, was also challenging in the beginning. Jewellery is one of the most historical crafts there is. To break century-old traditions and experiment with something new takes curiosity and courage.’


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.