International diamond jeweller De Beers has decided to revive one of China’s intangible cultural heritages by launching a program dedicated to Miao embroidery in Guizhou, a landlocked province in Southwestern China, the birthplace of this artistic tradition and the ethnic minority Miao who are masters of this woven handiwork which involves unique and complex stitches.
With a mission to combine the oriental craftsmanship with contemporary fashion that the brand is synonymous with, De Beers is inviting China’s famed Miao embroidery master Liu Zhenghua together with 30 female embroiderers from local villages to co-create a butterfly-themed jewellery pouch. While the butterfly has been De Beers’ signature design, the insect is also regarded as sacred by the locals, therefore, creating a strong link between the brand and the local culture.
In the meantime, the initiative also sheds a light on the issue of women’s rights in rural regions, which hasn’t received as much attention compared to China’s developed cities. By having women embroiderers at the centre of this long-term program, De Beers also brings training opportunities to local young women to help them modernise the traditional technique. Also, the brand will directly place orders with them, creating a stable source of income for participants and allowing them to be more financially independent while continuing their family responsibility.
By showing their support for local women, De Beers is able to strengthen the brand’s connection with women as a whole, who are also the core consumers of their jewellery products. And through the collaboration, the brand’s value would be enhanced with embroiderers’ individual stories enriching the brand’s narratives and earning brownie points towards its Social Responsibility.
To further spur consumer interest, De Beers is also introducing an interactive experience event of Miao embroidery, where the public can cut their teeth on this cultural heritage by making a tailored bag with customised letters whilst following the guidance from experienced embroidered.
In addition, De Beers has furthered its advocacy for the traditional Chinese culture on social media by leveraging the brand’s global fame in luxury and the influence of its China brand ambassador Cai Xukun, who has more than 37 million followers on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo.
It is understood that a world exhibition is in the works to take China’s Miao embroidery global with these ethnic handicrafts also set to make a debut at De Beers’ London flagship store on Bond Street.