Michelle Ong's world is filled with sensual delights, such as ripe mandarin oranges, swaying palm trees and fragile, trembling anemones.
These natural wonders aren't real, but are created by Ong in her jewelry workshop in Hong Kong, using colored diamonds, precious gems, white gold and titanium for her 20-year-old line, called Carnet.
For the first time, the public will see Ong's most important works at an exhibition called ";Exquisite Jewels: The Art of Carnet by Michelle Ong," which runs until Dec. 10 at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.
Ong, a mother of three, has no formal training as a jeweler. She started creating her naturalistic designs, which sell for up to $1 million, as a hobby while working in the wholesale diamond business.
";I was working for a family friend in Hong Kong, learning about stones but itching to do something else. Plus, I couldn't find any jewelry to wear out to a party," said Ong, who was in London earlier this month to promote the exhibition that kicked off Saturday. Because I have no formal training, I have no fear. I never think inside the box. I just find ways to make what I want."
Some 100 pieces of Ong's work from her two decades in the business will be on display, many of which are on loan from customers. The show features her pieces for day, including diamond and white gold hoop earrings and white gold, silver and diamond bangles, as well as her more extravagant looks for evening.
There is the twin mandarin orange brooch, with the fruit made from intense and fancy yellow diamonds and the leaves fashioned from white, rose-cut diamonds, and a pair of palm trees, with flexible trunks made from white and brown rose-cut diamonds.
A dragonfly brooch has wings fashioned from white diamonds, a body made from platinum and titanium, and a flexible tail made from brown diamonds.
";It's a big piece, but light enough to pin it on a silk blouse," said Ong.
Her lightweight butterfly brooches can be worn at the waist, the shoulder or even in a chignon.
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