An award-winning New Zealand jewelry design firm is hoping a deal with a major Chinese jewelry trader could open the door to the global market.

Wellington-based The Inspired Collection announced Wednesday it had signed a contract with China's Hiersun to create an exclusive collection of wedding pieces for the Chinese market.

The Inspired Collection creative director Ian Douglasdeclined to give the value of the two-year deal, but he said much of his firm's rewards would be based on sales and royalties through more than 200 Hiersun "I Do" stores across China.

The Inspired Collection would design a bridal jewelry series of 12 to 15 pieces each year and Hiersun would make the pieces in its China workshops and sell them under The Inspired Collection brand, Douglas told Xinhua.

"We think it will be a very symbiotic relationship," Douglas said in a phone interview, "we're very, very hopeful that it will be the beginning of the launch of our brand globally."

The bridal jewelry market in China was still in its infancy, with an estimated 6 percent of Chinese couples owning a piece of diamond jewelry. That figure was expected to rise to 40 percent by 2020, said Douglas.

Hiersun had approached The Inspired Collection at the Hong Kong Jewelry and Gem Fair in September last year on the strength of the New Zealand firm's award history: the Gemological Institute of America supreme George A. Schuetz Award for Men's Jewelry in 2010 and 2011, and supreme award wins in the New Zealand Jewelry Design Awards in 2009 and 2010.

Douglas said the designers would not be consciously incorporating any Chinese elements in the designs for Hiersun: "We have certainly tailored them to be slightly more commercial than The Inspired Collection as a whole, but our brief is to carry on doing what we're doing, exclusively for them, at this stage."

The designs would be targeted at a retail range of 1,000 to 5, 000 NZ dollars (786 to 3,930 US dollars), which was "pretty average in New Zealand."

Douglas and the company's two other directors are to join a Wellington mayoral delegation led by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown to sister city Beijing later this month at the invitation of Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong.