The Art of Gifting



On a warm humid evening, the artisans of the Palace Museum were summoned on short notice. The air was still and the instructions were plain simple – a house warming gift. The interior of the palace was furnished with dark cherry wood furniture, and cushioned with pale pink and dark red velvet silk drapes. The tables and shelves were elegantly decorated with ornate gold vases with huge bouquets of pink lilies. Beyond the flowers, a calligraphy scroll hung on the wall. It was an ancient poem, written so eloquently of Ruyi – a traditional scepter of good luck. Inspired by what they saw, the artisans bowed to thank the maid for her hospitality as they left.

jewellery design royal insignia

Back in the atelier, the artisans studied the history of the Ruyi in detail; an s-shaped scepter with its head resembling a cloud, the Ruyi stood as a symbol of good luck and longevity. Inspired by the poem of this auspicious object, our artisans created a natural landscape composed of the Princess’s favorite flowers arranged in the form of a Ruyi sceptre. The lilies were carved out of rose quartz and stamens of amethyst briolette, with turquoise green enamel add as a finishing flourish to the petals.

ruyi rose quartz objet d'art

Gifting is so much more than the physical exchange of objects — it is a form of communication and an establishment of a mutual understanding between two people. When personalized thought is put into the creation of a bespoke gift for someone, it not only stands as a gesture of kindness or generosity, but it also represents a sense of intimacy; that the relationship shared between two people ought to be commemorated.

The key to gifting is to get the right gift. Nothing else would spell disastrous than an inappropriate or a thoughtless gift. What is the purpose of your gift? What message are you trying to convey to your recipient? All it takes is for us to understand the three aspects of gifting. We can start with observing and reflecting upon what kind of emotions do we wish to express unto the receiver of the gift, or what kind of occasion are we trying to commemorate.

Give by Observing

The first step towards giving a meaningful gift is through observation. By paying attention to what loved ones say, what their interests are, or what means a lot to them, one may be able to formulate some ideas. Also, by thinking about the functionality of a gift, one may also choose to gift something which would make the receiver’s life more comfortable.

Give for Good Luck

On many occasions, like a housewarming party or graduation, one may wish to give a gift that wishes the recipient good fortune and prosperity. Tap into the myths and symbolism associated with auspiciousness and good luck and get creative. Moonstone, agate, and the owl are renown to bring protection and good fortune, whilst turquoise, peridot, and the frog are known to assist in healing. The recipient however, may not be superstitious to fully believe the myth itself, but they would certainly appreciate the thought process behind it.

Give as a Form of Expression

Giving a gift is more than just a gesture, it is a message that we wish to communicate to the recipient. A message to wish them well, good fortune, good health, peace, or love. The great sociologist Marcel Mauss wrote that gift giving comes in threefold – the giving, the acceptance and the reciprocation. To give a gift, we send a message to the recipient whether it is out of love, sympathy, or respect. For the recipient to accept, psychologically, they are accepting the message you are trying to put across. If the recipient reciprocates by giving in return, it shows an initiative to strengthen the relationship between the both of you through a sense of reciprocation.

The Art of Gifting by Royal Insignia