Why my fascination with gems and jewellery?
Ever since I can remember, I had a creative streak. I would spend hours drawing, painting, sewing, baking or pressing flowers. I kept little boxes filled with seashells, pebbles and ribbons. I loved discovering and exploring. Often my grandmother would find me in the attic rummaging through boxes of knick-knacks, and if I were lucky, my mother would take me antiquing along Cat Street in Hong Kong.
My mother had an unusual jewellery box. It was an Indian silver box encrusted with tumbled amethyst stones that could spin and move like the beads on an abacus.
That jewelled box opened a world of wonder for me. Among the inexpensive bead necklaces and brass bracelets were a strand of pearls, a jade bracelet, and my favourite, a small bejewelled fish brooch, signed Cartier. At the time, I had no idea who Cartier was, but I could see that it was special.
My mother was a classic beauty, and she had an extraordinary taste. She looked elegant and stunning in an Oscar de La Renta evening gown and a bespoke sapphire bracelet. She was quintessentially chic wearing Gloria Vanderbilt jeans with her signature cultured pearl studs. Small trinkets or a significant stone, every jewel she owned had a story behind it.