The mystery of the Peranakans lies in the odd mix of myriad influences in the Peranakans’ lives, especially from sources usually not expected of those living in South East Asia. As such, these influencing cultures on the Peranakans may share the same symbols but carry different meanings in their respective traditions. One such motif in the Peranakan tradition, as seen in these Peranakan ruby earrings, are grapes.
For the Peranakan Chinese, grapes symbolized longevity due to the word sounding the same as “peach” in Chinese, as peaches have long had the reputation of being the sustenance of immortals in Chinese mythology. However, if we also consider that many Peranakan Chinese were also English-educated and assimilated Christian beliefs, grapes also symbolized the redemptive blood of Christ and the abundant harvest.
Most Peranakan yellow gold jewellery historically made use of intan, or thinly cut slices of diamond. However, when it came to coloured stones, rubies were the preferred gemstone of choice. Thus, our chief designer chose to make use of these vibrantly coloured ruby cabochons to represent the grapes in these earrings, with brilliant cut diamonds to help accentuate the contours of the leaves on the grapevine.
The stark difference in size between the grapevine and the grapes is a reminder that while it is good to enjoy the fruits or the gifts that we have been given, it is more important to remember the giver. Is there someone who you want to honour or bless with a gift like this because of what they mean to you?