Wonderland reminds us to appreciate nature and everything that is positive and beautiful. — Mimi So
Wonderland is the embodiment of a series of personal journeys which have led me to a colorful place in life, a vibrant enchanted forest where I am free to let go and drift into my imagination. Full of lively creatures, wonderland brims with playful bees, ladybugs, orchids and diamond butterflies — all of which symbolize qualities and traits important to me.
Wonderland, Mimi most prolific and dynamic collection to date, highlights her eye for detail, proportion and color. The collection is designed to be collected and layered, to tell personal stories and to inspire us to take a moment to appreciate our surroundings in life. The core detail that ties all Wonderland pieces together is a handmade texture which mimics the look and feel of forest trees and wood. It’s found on all Wonderland rings, rondelles and the signature Twig necklaces. The Wonderland project began with a series of sketches and etchings along with a number of different metal working techniques and trials to achieve the final pattern. Another variation of the twig necklaces features a carved gold bird and butterfly both perched along a life-like golden branch. The challenge here was to find the perfect position of each creature along the branch to achieve the proper visual balance.
Diamond twig necklace features 100 diamonds with a total carat weight of .91 ctw. Mimi and her team devoted many hours to find the perfect placement of the varied sized diamonds in order to achieve a more natural, organic look to the piece. Stone carving plays another large role in the signature look of the collection. From Opal bunny rings, spectrolite turtles, tourmaline frogs to moonstone owls, each carved creature forms part of a one-of-a-kind piece. The team experimented with a number of materials before settling on the final stones for each creature. The Wonderland Bunny is the star of the collection. Each ring in the Bunny series is a true one-of-a-kind. From the opal stone carving to the setting, no two are alike. As each opal is unique, with varying matrix, fire and color, the design process begins with a sketch to review each piece of rough material to find the best way to showcase the bunnies' attributes.
Then, the team takes photos and sculpts different areas of the stone to find the best positioning. The carving itself takes 12-15 hours from start to finish, with time in between for the lapidary to rest his hands. Stones can easily break during the carving process, so we work with a highly skilled lapidary with many years of experience to minimize the chance of breakage. When the bunny is completed, we then polish the stone to bring out its beauty. Each bunny is set within a customized and handcrafted garden sculpture to mimic a natural habitat. The design begins with a wax mold which is then cast into silver where we fine tune the details of each blade of grass. Each setting is designed around the Bunny - the pose, the color, size and position. Within the garden, you will find various details such as mushrooms, bumblebees, carrots or flowers — all hand carved and sprinkled with precious stones. Each figure requires a microscope and a steady hand to set the tiny stones (each contain approx 5-8 diamonds all under 1mm) — a tedious task performed by a skilled stone setter.
In addition to the exquisitely carved stone creatures are the whimsical golden bumblebees, ladybugs, flowers, butterflies, birds and bunnies perched on stacking rings, worn as charming studs or intertwined in to strands of precious beads. The Butterfly and Lady Bug ring was the most challenging piece in this series. The development process took longer than the actual fabrication. Hours of consideration went into achieving the perfect positioning, balance and proportion of each component to appear as if it was floating on the wearer's finger. Once these details were determined, the team moved on to the silver models. In this stage, the diamond setter had to evaluate what size diamonds to use to both push the metal tolerance and maintain a delicate look. The twig design for the band took 16 hours to manipulate in order to achieve its organic, fluid movement. Varying thicknesses for each band also had to be determined as the overarching goal of the stack rings is to nestle together perfectly in any combination the wearer chooses.