Fei Liu, owner, Fei Liu

Working closely with the British Jewellery & Giftware International association and UK Trade & Investment, Chinese-born Birmingham-based jewellery designer Fei Liu last year launched a very special project to take British jewellery design talent to China in reaction to its booming luxury goods market and shifting focus from bigname brands to more individual and unique jewellery designs.

After describing the success of the overseas initiative as “better than he’d ever dreamed” – Fei showcased work by Leyla Abdollahi, Sarah Ho, Tomasz Donocik and William Cheshire – he decided to continue the scheme in 2012. “By creating the link between the two nations I believe China will benefit from the ever-evolving British style and open up the market to a host of new talent and skill, whilst the British will gain the opportunity to develop a new consumer base,” he explains.

Fei has also hosted a number of industry talks – one of which took place at IJL this year – where he spoke honestly about what it takes to break into the Chinese market, while also offering advice to the UK industry about Chinese consumers’ buying mentality.

His pioneering work has not gone unnoticed by the industry. In February this year he was appointed a design consultant for the Platinum Guild International in China, following the positive reception of his Window of the Heart platinum collection in the Chinese market. The new role has involved him working with designers and consumers to increase understanding of platinum as a metal in China, where gold has long reigned as the metal of choice.

But Fei has not just been toiling for the good of everyone else this year, he has also been developing his own work and this year won the Harpers Bazaar China Designer of the Year Award. “It means a great deal to be recognised for my work in my home country. There are so many wonderfully talented designers that I feel truly honoured to have been awarded. I feel incredibly lucky to be a designer at this exciting time, which sees the growing importance of the Chinese market.”