A return to the enchanting Forbidden City


Forbidden City purple jade ring

It was around a year ago that I had the pleasure of launching the stunning Forbidden City jewellery range with its designer, John Cooney.

This is definitely one of those shows I would class as 'not to be missed'. If you didn't catch its debut then make sure you put Friday 3pm in your diary!

I caught up with John, who is delighted to be joining us once again for an hour of breathtakingly beautiful treasures.

Q. John, great to have you back. For anyone who missed the show last time can you tell us about your inspiration for the range?

I started my whole quest to the Forbidden City as a student of Asian Language and Cultures and ended up spending two years in Beijing to perfect my Chinese.

As a designer, I found truth in the elements of Asian design and a balance in Asian thought that I had not experienced anywhere else. It was from this that my Forbidden City Jewellery Collection was born.

I simply fell in love with the Forbidden City, this Palace of 9,999 rooms – the infinity of it all influenced my designs tremendously.

From imperial craftsmanship, I learned how to make jewellery truly fit for a queen and no matter where I sell my work, my quality doesn’t change. It’s luxury plain and simple.

Forbidden City bracelet

Q. How would you describe the range?

My pieces are luxurious to the touch and they are sensuous. The quality is undying because I demand it on every square centimetre, just like the Emperors of the Chinese royal court did nearly 500 years ago.

Passion and quality were something I learned not only in Beijing but the other two cities that I currently call ‘home'.

Q. Tell me more about these cities that you call 'home', as you put it.

All three cities I’m fortunate to spend time in influence my designs. Los Angeles is fashion and style; Beijing is the root of my inspiration and the place where craftsmanship is carried out the same way it was 500 years ago; and Geneva, Switzerland, is my city of impassioned and unbeatable quality.

Q. I know your mother has been a constant source of inspiration in your life. How has she influenced your jewellery creations?

My mother always taught me that it's best to make someone happy before they even know you. My jewellery is the way I do this every day.

Make sure you tune at 3pm on Friday to meet John and see more of his exquisite jewellery.

See you then!

Love Catherine x


  1. Evelyn Joudot September 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm -  Reply

    Forbidden City designs are truly different and very affordable. The quality style and look enhance any lady bringing out the hidden values of the wearer. Throughout the world, people are discovering all the values of Forbidden City. QVC is brilliant in bringing these to us. We can’t wait to see all the new designs that you and John are bringing us.

  2. Jean Whitfield October 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for presenting a wonderful 1st anniversary show of Forbidden City, I truly enjoyed it. It was a pleasure speaking to both yourself and John about the hidden inspirations behind each and every piece of beautifully designed jewellery. I look forward to seeing John’s new designs on QVC in the near future.

  3. Catherine Hntley October 5, 2009 at 9:29 am -  Reply

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thank you for your lovely comments.Sounds like you are a massive fan, too! Your sentiments echo how I feel about the range and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
    I hope we get even more sandstone and rose gold. So captivating!
    Please feel free to call in next time John’s back on the show.
    Love Catherine x

  4. Catherine Hntley October 5, 2009 at 9:33 am -  Reply

    Hello lovely Jean,
    It was so good of you to call in to the show and your love of the collection was clearly obvious. It’s just a shame we can’t pin John down more often but, of course, he is a perfectionist so spends a lot of time travelling the world, gathering more inspiration and creating more wonderful treasures. The attention to detail and the substantiality (am I making up words again, hee hee?) of the pieces is quite remarkable.
    Thanks again for being part of the show. You really made John’s day as he loves to hear first hand what people think.
    Lots of love,
    Catherine x

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