She, like her jewels, is luxury, the freedom of true luxury, light and dense, simple and rich, visible and not—she and they evoke the myth of the Orient.
The words above belong to master jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal (aka JAR) and, appearing as in a poem, are from the concise but evocative foreword he has written for Carnet by Michelle Ong, a forthcoming title from Thames & Hudson.
Set to publish next week, it’s required reading for the most passionate and gem-savvy of jewelry professionals, enthusiasts, and collectors. Not that there’s much text—the supersized compendium of the Hong Kong–based high jewelry designer’s work is dominated by the most luscious and luminous full-page photos of her resplendent jewels, whether it’s a pomegranate glistening with plump ruby seeds, a pair of diamond-stemmed mandarin oranges, or a carved jadeite dragon ensnared in tendrils of pink and blue sapphires and diamonds.
Even so, author Vivienne Becker’s storytelling in the book’s introduction and at the beginning of each section deftly puts all of these tantalizing images in context, explaining how Carnet—Ong’s boutique jewelry house helmed in tandem with partner and gem dealer Avi Nagar—came to be, and how the designer herself has risen to acclaim as one of the greatest names in high jewelry.
Becker, a noted jewelry expert and historian and the author of many books, suggests that it has something to do with Ong’s “light and lyrical creations” beginning as a “hazy idea, somehow just beyond our grasp… turned into a superbly crafted, silkily fluid, contemporary work of art.”
Most will be inclined to agree. A peek at some of the pages is below.
Top: Carnet by Michelle Ong, $95; Thames & Hudson (book jacket photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson)
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