Models present designs from the 'Seri Nusa' jewelry collection at Plataran Menteng in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (16/05). (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

'Seri Nusa' Jewelry Collection Inspired by Traditional 'Pending'

BY :SYLVIANA HAMDANI

MAY 20, 2017

Jakarta. The Palace Jeweler launched its latest jewelry collection "Seri Nusa" ("Archipelago Series") at Plataran Menteng in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (16/05).

The collection is inspired by an ancient Indonesian belt buckle design, known as pending.

"We seek to perpetuate Indonesia's traditional heritage in jewelry and encourage today's Indonesian people to embrace their heritage in their modern lives," Amelia Santoso, marketing vice president at Central Mega Kencana, the parent company of The Palace Jeweler, said during the launch.

The company collaborated with senior kebaya designer Anne Avantie in 2015 to design a wedding ring collection, named "Kekaseh" ("Lovers"), which was adorned with traditional Javanese batik patterns.

The company collaborated with senior fashion designer Samuel Wattimena this year to design "Seri Nusa."

"[Samuel] is a maestro whose works always focus on Indonesia's traditional cultures," Amelia said.

"I feel very honored," Samuel said. "I've dedicated my entire [fashion-designing] career to Indonesia's traditional heritage. And now I've got a chance to design a jewelry collection inspired by our heritage."

It is the first time for Samuel to design jewelry and he did very well.

Samuel transformed the ancient pending design into bangles, chokers, necklaces, rings and earrings made from real gold and diamonds.

Some of the pieces are very cute and dainty, while others have prominent designs and sizes.

A large pendant from the 'Seri Nusa' jewelry collection on display at the launch. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

"You can wear them with either kebaya or modern dresses," the designer said.

History of Pending

Pending was traditionally worn by both bride and groom on their wedding day.

The golden belt and buckle were usually given as a wedding present by their families.

"The shape of pending symbolizes the parents' wishes for their children's marriage to be happy, prosperous and everlasting," said Notty J. Mahdi, an anthropologist at the Indonesian Anthropology Study Forum (FKAI).

He said the practice of producing pending was brought to Indonesia in the seventh century by Chinese traders, who presented them as gifts to royals.

"The shape of the [original] pending actually represented the eyes of Buddha, which symbolize peace, harmony and wisdom," Notty said.

Captivated by the designs, Indonesian royalty ordered local artisans to create similar designs.

The designs varied a lot, according to the tastes of the local artisans.

In Aceh, for example, artisans designed the buckle with a blooming flower at the center, surrounded by etchings of foliage.

Peranakan, or people of Chinese descent, on the other hand, preferred pending embellished with an uang kepeng, or old Indonesian coin, in the center as a symbol of prosperity.

Samuel's designs adopt the traditional oval shape of pending. At the center is a group of diamonds, surrounded by elaborate etchings.

"Diamonds, just like uang kepeng in the old days, signify wealth and prosperity," he said.

Indonesian actress Maudy Kusnaedi, who attended the launch, was impressed with the designs that form part of "Seri Nusa."

"The jewelry has unique designs that are both very [traditional] Indonesian and modern," Maudy said. "I'd be proud to wear them to international events and promote Indonesia with them."

"Seri Nusa" will be available for purchase at The Palace Jeweler boutiques from August this year.

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