PAIR OF DIAMOND “BLACK LACE” CUFF BRACELETS BY MICHELLE ONG FOR CARNET, HONG KONG, 2000

A pair of bracelets designed to emulate a dress shirt cuff; the wide tapering cuff of simulated peau de soie band embellished with collet-set diamonds and a delicately pierced openwork ruffle of diamond foliates; mounted in blackened silver, platinum, and 18-karat white gold

  • 3,184 Diamonds, total weighing 44.29 carats
  • Signed Carnet
  • Measurements: 4 1/8 × 3 1/2 × 2 1/4 inches

Additional cataloguing

Literature

  • Becker, Vivienne. The Impossible Collection of Jewelry. New York: Assouline, 2013, pl. 99.
  • Diamonds: The World’s Most Dazzling Exhibition. London: Natural History Museum, 2005, p. 59, No. 141.
  • Van Grotenhuis van Onstein, Vinciane. Diamond Divas. Belgium: BAI, 2008, pp. 184 and 203.

 

Exhibitions

  • The Nature of Diamonds, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, October 25, 2008–March 22, 2009; Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, May 9–September 7, 2009; The Field Museum, Chicago, October 17, 2009–March 28, 2010.
  • Diamond Divas, Diamond Museum, Antwerp, Belgium, April 11–June 8, 2008.
  • Diamonds: The World’s Most Dazzling Exhibition, Natural History Museum, London, July 8–December 8, 2005, no. 141.
  • Exquisite Jewels: The Art of Carnet by Michelle Ong, The Burrell Collection, Pollock Country Park, Glasgow, Scotland, October 27–December 10, 2006, no. 10.

 

Biography

In 1985, Michelle Ong and Avi Nagar started as importers and wholesalers of fine diamonds under the name of Dorera, but the firm soon developed a reputation for custom designed jewelry. In 1999, when they changed the name to Carnet, a unique style emerged. Ong’s unusual designs fuse traditional Eastern and Western motifs in an innovative, artistic, and exacting way. Carnet maintains a salon in Hong Kong.

 

Significance

Michelle Ong has been called “one of the greatest designers of our time” by international jewelry critic Ryo Yamaguchi. In assessing her jewelry repertoire, this accolade certainly rings true. Her unerring style and the fabrication of her jewelry are unlike anything on the market today.

Ong is a perfectionist. Every piece is entirely handcrafted and each design can take a year or two for her to refine. If she is not satisfied with the end result, she will destroy the piece even though to anyone else’s eye it seems flawless. This infallible devotion to perfection and her acute design sensibility has earned her a place as one of the foremost designers today.

Although Michelle Ong lives and works in Hong Kong and many of her designs are eastern inspired, she also looks for inspiration in every corner of the earth. Other cultures fascinate her and the idea for a jewel can come from any source. She designs whatever attracts her, turning the mundane into a work of art. The design of this pair of cuff bracelets is based on mid-eighteenth-century French manchettes, fabric cuffs decorated with buttons and lace. They are created out of blackened silver that, even close up, looks like silk studded with a plethora of diamonds. These cuff bracelets are eminently wearable but, because of their monumental size, also function as sculpture.

Rebecca Romijn wearing the Michelle Ong cuffs in InStyle.

Fei Fei Sun wearing the Michelle Ong cuffs in Vogue Italia.