Thursday, January 23, 2014

Michelle Ong for Carnet

Post by Christine Webb

I am completely and utterly in awe of Michelle Ong, the jewelry designer for Carnet.  I have always admired her work, but after receiving the incredible book, 21st-Century Jewellery Designers an Inspired Style by Juliet Weir-De La RochefoucauldI am now certifiably obsessed.  The book features many of my favorite designers, but Michelle Ong has now reached the top of my list. Ong is focused on details.  She creates small differences to repetitive themes to change the total effect of a piece. Intensely feminine with an exquisite sense of style, her jewelry is graceful.  Ong uses strong tones when combining color providing wonderful contrasts.  She is also focused on the fluidity and movement of her pieces.

Spellbound Sapphire Earrings: Blue sapphire and white diamond drop earrings
set in 18k white gold
Christine's Gem to Remember
There are so many reasons why I'm in love with these earrings.  The flowing ribbons of diamonds in scrolls framing the sapphires, the mixing of different cuts as seen in the flat diamond rondelles, and of course the beautiful blue hue of the octagonal sapphires. Truly stand alone earrings - no necklace required!

Carnet is the culmination of a 20 year partnership. Michelle Ong is the artist creating the fabulous jewels, and her partner, Avi Nagar makes this possible by dealing with the business aspects of Carnet. They opened an atelier in Hong Kong in 2003 to showcase their one-of-a-kind jewelry. From the looks of it, I'd say it is a perfect partnership. When do we visit Hong Kong?!

Note how the blue color of the titanium enhances both the diamonds as well as the rubies and pink sapphires in these earrings - brilliant!

Pretty Passion: Diamond, amethyst, ruby and pink sapphire drop earrings
 set in 18k white gold and titanium

To see how fine jewelry is created - the pear brooch below - please watch this video from the Carnet Jewellery website.  It is simply outstanding! After viewing, you'll really be wowed when you feast your eyes on the rest of the pieces featured here.

One of Michelle Ong's signature designs is her hoop earring - she emphasizes movement and lightness, believing that you should never have to suffer to wear a piece of her jewelry. I love her!  Nothing worse than a beautiful piece of jewelry that is difficult or painful to wear.
Shades of Diamond Hoops: White and yellow diamond,
 pink and blue sapphire in 18k white gold

Would you ever need another pair of diamond earrings?  I think not.  Amazing rose cut diamonds (flat bottom, faceted top) that are an older traditional cut giving a softer brilliance than the more dispersive modern cuts of today.

Amphora: Fancy light yellow and white diamond earrings set in platinum and 18k yellow gold

Just look at the shape, design, fluidity and color of these otherworldly earrings.

 Bejeweled Saturn Sky: Diamond, emerald, blue and pink sapphire, garnet
 and amethyst earrings set in 18k white gold and titanium

Clouds represent good luck in the Far East and Ong's jewelry features this natural form in earrings, bracelets and necklaces.  Don't you know these look drop dead gorgeous on!

Dream Clouds: White diamond drop earrings set in 18k white gold

Golden Leaves: White and yellow diamond drop earrings set in 18k white and yellow gold

Who is lucky enough to own a piece of art that is so breathtakingly beautiful and created by such talented craftsmen?  One can only dream!  The sapphires in this bracelet really "pop" as they are set in titanium - and I just love the rose cut diamonds. I'm truly left speechless. This is tied for my favorite piece, with the sapphire and diamond earrings at the beginning of this post - sorry - I have selected 2 Gems to Remember!

Azure Clouds: White diamond and blue sapphire bangle set in 18k white gold and titanium
Christine's Gem to Remember

The use of color, the geometric design, and the articulation in the bracelet - these are the hallmarks of fine jewelry - of course only made possible by the expert hands of extremely talented artists and goldsmiths working for Carnet. 

Watercolour Concerto: White diamond, emerald, ruby, pink and blue sapphire, garnet and amethyst bracelet set in 18k white gold and titanium

Precision and artistry - the perfect match. Prism: White diamond, emerald, ruby,
pink and blue sapphire and garnet bracelet set in platinum

The craftsmanship and attention to detail in this bracelet is extraordinary and quite frankly, unbelievable. Ong not only uses colors for great contrast in her pieces, but she utilizes the bold contrast of white and black in many of her designs. How I'd love to see this on my wrist!
Black Lace Dragon: White diamond bangle set in platinum and silver

One for each wrist. Floating Clouds: White rose cut diamond bracelet set in 18k white gold

This ring would go so nicely with my sapphire and diamond Gem to Remember picks!

Bejeweled Nile: purplish blue and blue sapphire and white diamond ring set in
 18k white gold and titanium

Here you can see the traditional beauty of green jadeite and the masterful carving the Chinese are renowned for - refined and elegant. 

Memoirs: Carved Jade and white diamond ring set in platinum

Amphora: Fancy intense yellow and white diamond ring set in platinum

The mix of color as well as the shapes and cuts of the gems make this statement ring truly unique.
Emerald Delight: emerald, white diamond and sapphire ring set in platinum

Violette Sparkle: Amethyst and white diamond ring set in 18k white gold

Emerald Obsession: Emerald and white diamond ring set in platinum

Realizing the importance for jewelry to be light weight - so her pieces could be worn on more delicate fabrics - Ong started using titanium.  A light but very strong material that also comes in many colors,  titanium is perfect for her creations.  Large flowers and blossoms couldn't be created using heavier metals such as gold or platinum - the titanium allows for sculptural forms for carving the petals and stamens, while enhancing the colored gemstones. This flower brooch is quintessential Michelle Ong - harmonious colors, different cuts of gems, dimensionality.  Ong's favorite color is purple, and here you can see the various shades of purple mixing with pinks and blues. Note how the blue titanium enhances the rubies and the purple titanium accents the purple sapphires beautifully. What a masterpiece!

Purple and Blue Flower Brooch: White and black diamond, ruby, blue, pink and
 purple sapphire, amethyst, rubellite and topaz in titanium

The pavé work in these floral brooches is truly exceptional - you can't even see the metal the diamonds are set in - now this is what fine jewelry is all about. Undeniably fabulous. Watch out JAR!  
Poppy Brooch: Ruby and brown, black and white diamond in 18k white gold

Precious Plume: white and yellow diamond, ruby and amethyst brooch
 set in platinum and titanium

Midnight Pumpkin: white, fancy intense yellow and brown diamond brooch set in
 platinum and 18k yellow gold

As you can see from the pear brooch (earlier in post with video) and pumpkin brooch above, Ong is also inspired by fruits. The pomegranate symbolizes fertility in China, often given to newly married couples. The rubies perfectly represent the juicy red seeds - looking good enough to eat!

Pomegranate: white, fancy intense yellow and brown diamond and ruby brooch set
 in 18k white and yellow gold

Arabesque: Brown rose cut diamond brooch set in 18k yellow gold

This is the most beautiful gem encrusted dragon I've ever seen - astonishing!

Dragon: emerald, ruby and white diamond brooch set in platinum and silver

Floating Clouds: White rose cut diamond brooch set in 18k white gold

The Paradisso Brooch is Patricia's Gem to Remember.  The color of the pink and purple sapphires (How LONG did it take her to collect all those stones??) and the sheer 'lightness' of the look of the brooch,  yet obviously rich with gemstones makes this a stand-out piece of jewelry worthy of the most discriminating collector's jewel box!

Paradisso Brooch: purple pink sapphire and white diamond brooch set
 in 18k white gold and titanium
Patricia's Gem to Remember

Michelle Ong has a love of textiles which you can see in many of her pieces.  She takes inspiration from lace and crochet work - the necklaces give the illusion of draping fabric in a very fluid supple manner. Her jewelry can take many months to complete, and the lace necklaces can take up to five years to finish.  Many of these magnificent necklaces are reminiscent of the Belle Epoque, the "beautiful era" during the early 1900s - where jewelry was light and airy, lace-like, and very feminine.   Often monochromatic, as seen here with the use of diamonds and pearls, the jewelry had a sense of refinement, elegance and luxury.  Michelle Ong has most definitely created this in her gorgeous necklaces.

 Regal Reverie: White diamond and pearl necklace set in platinum - Regal indeed.

Just to be able to wear this masterpiece for one night - who would care about the dress, or anything else for that matter!

Stars of the Night: yellow and black diamond necklace set in 18k gold

Dahlia: White and black diamond, ruby, emerald, pink and blue sapphire, garnet and amethyst necklace set in platinum and titanium

I am a huge fan of the Art Deco period where the jewelry made great use of geometric forms, clean lines, and symmetry.  This necklace has that feel as well as the stark contrast of white and black.  The Chinese consider black to be a neutral color, corresponding to water and considering it to be "heaven's" color.  I know I'd be in heaven wearing this statement necklace!

Diamond Fantasy: White and black diamond necklace set in platinum and silver

Diamond Flourish: white and fancy brown diamond pendant and diamond chain set in 18k gold

Floating Diamonds: white rose cut diamond necklace set in platinum

Blue Inspiration: Tanzanite, white diamond and blue sapphire pendant
 set in 18k white gold and titanium

Again the use of incredible rose-cut diamonds giving a subtle brilliance, set in rose gold (gold colored pink by the addition of copper). Exquisite, spectacular, extraordinary!

Diamond Dew Drop: white rose cut diamond necklace set in 18k rose gold

The delicate time pieces incorporate geometric shapes with gem encrusted ribbons for straps. I just love when jewelry is both functional and incredibly beautiful.  I might just start wearing a watch again if I could have one of Michelle Ong's masterpieces!

Flaming Rubies: White diamond and ruby watch set in 18k white gold with a diamond pave dial

Diamond Lagoon: White diamond watch set in 18k white gold with a diamond pave dial

I hope you've fallen in love with Michelle Ong's one-of-a-kind art jewels. To view more incredible pieces by Michelle Ong for Carnet, please visit the website:

All photos and information courtesy of Carnet and 21st-Century Jewellery Designers an Inspired Style by Juliet Weir-De La Rochefoucauld

1 comment:

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