Michelle Ong of Carnet: Fruits of labour

22nd October 2011



I spent most of my lazy teenage years watching countless video tapes of Chinese period dramas, Tang Dynasty (A.D 618-907)  was one my particular favourite dynasties for their materialistic abundance, opulence costumes and elaborate adornments of the upper class and best of all, the Royal garments and their overstated headdressings of all ranks.  Seriously I could go on and on like James May from Top Gear whose comprehensive topics often bore his co-presenters, don’t fret my words of boredom will not ensue.



The morning after previewing The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s, I took a long stride towards Cavendish Square to check out Asia House’s first retrospective exhibition of the exquisite jewellery collection of Michelle Ong of Carnet (Hong Kong), having missed their press preview due to clash with other jewellery-related event.  Many of the 180 jewels were kindly lent by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world, with earlier pieces from 1985 when Carnet was established.

I was fixated by Michelle Ong’s themed pieces, her distinctive fusion of her culture influences from East and West, the floating clouds, a majestic Chinese dragon, magic hoops, jade carvings and the contemporary shimmering rose diamonds, chandelier earrings with integrated elements of the past and modern design.  The profounding usage of emotive colour draws Ong’s intricate crafted and feminine designed features which brought greatest pleasure to my viewing.



“…all of her jewels are like great pleasures – devoured in one bite of the eye to remain unforgettable.” – JAR.   I must stress in a good way after reading a short quote by JAR in Carnet’s press release (I almost spat my tea out) was that my curiosity of their close friendship.  JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal) is such a rarity these days I only discovered the name whilst assisting at How To Spend It years ago, no official nor dedicated website, no Facebook page, no books but tiny article snippets in Financial Times, Forbes and the Telegraph about the jeweller himself.  To those who don’t know, JAR is a big deal the extraordinaire of the world’s artist jewellers, I was fortunate to see one of his pieces at the Elizabeth Taylor exhibition with my surprised and confused expression.

Okay okay, enough of my flabbergast weirdness there will be a tribute post on JAR if I can track him down at the Place Vendôme in Le Paris in March.  Hey ho.

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