We love working with artists to broaden the scope of what tea can be and our interest in the culture surrounding the plant. For our newest project of a Gai Wan necklace made by Artist Jennifer Cui, we can wear our love of tea close to our hearts! This is a special collaboration, as Jennifer was a member of the Tea Drunk team at the East Village teahouse in 2019, and she graduated from our 40-hour Bootcamp in the same year.
The idea for this unique Gai Wan piece sprouted in 2020, and there have been many iterations to get it just right. It took Jennifer about a year to get the design alone to come to fruition. We’re so excited about these beautiful and exclusive pieces that we, as tea lovers, can wear to express our passion and interests creatively and elegantly. We hope you feel as beautiful in this piece as we do!
The piece is an exclusively commissioned Gai Wan pendant necklace for Tea Drunk designed in NYC by Jennifer. The pendant and chain are rhodium plated .925 sterling silver with a 1mm thick 16-inch chain and a 1-inch extension. It is 100% hand-casted and finished. The pendant is three pieces, just like a Gai Wan; there’s the base, bowl, and lid. It moves fluidly as you do, creating a dynamic and playful look.
Jennifer is a tea lover, a bespoke jewelry designer, a GIA Graduate Gemologist, and an all-around inspiring human. She has a background in the tech industry, but pivoted to follow her passion for jewelry after her experience creating her own engagement ring. After her now-husband proposed with a simple band, she was free to develop the rest. She researched tirelessly about stones and metals and found herself falling for the craft of it. After her ring, several of her friends commissioned her to help them with their ring designs; from the gem selection process to drawing design ideas, she was an instrumental part of their process.
After her experience crafting her ring and helping her friends, she realized this passion was more significant than a hobby and enrolled in GIA Graduate Gemology degree. Once she finished her studies, she started working with a bench jeweler to learn hand fabrication and wax carving, but later transitioned to creating in CAD as her software engineering background allowed her to take full advantage of the software and even create tools within the app to optimize her workflow.
Taking her inspiration from modern architecture, her pieces most often have clean lines that radiate an elegant beauty that is everyday wearable. This project was so fun to collaborate on, as Jennifer is a dedicated tea drinker and friend of the teahouse. She comes from a family of tea drinkers, so she’s been familiar with tea since she was a young girl. Jennifer even claims to barely drink water alone at this point; tea is her main source of hydration. When Jennifer is not designing jewelry or drinking tea, she can be found at her pilates studio in the meatpacking district or walking her adorable husky, Milo, along the Hudson River Park.