Like many of her peers, jewelry designer Michelle Ong regards jewelry as an art form rather than as a fashion accessory. In her case, the art involves the irreverent use of precious gems in understated pieces, and it includes designs that exhibit a fusion of Eastern and Western cultural influences.
A blackened-gold necklace set with black diamonds and nearly 50 large rose-cut diamonds that are attached without any visible metal displays the influences of Asian design as well as Art Deco. Ong sells this and other pieces in her Carnet collection at her salon in central Hong Kong and by appointment.
“I believe in a fearless use of precious materials,” says Ong, who employs exceptional-quality diamonds, rubies, and sapphires in abundance. “The materials I use infuse a brilliance and life into my designs that reflect the essence of the woman who wears them.” Ong, who has no formal jewelry training, uses the gemstones to radiate glimmers of light rather than making particular stones the focal points of the designs.
Among her latest creations is a pair of delicate, finely detailed dragon earrings with emeralds and rubies set in blackened silver over 18-karat gold. Ong’s elaborate Organdy Lace diamond necklaces and bracelets feature dozens of rose-cut diamonds set in minimal metal to achieve a sense of lightness and femininity.