SPARKLY THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG
I could not be happier about being in Hong Kong and collaborating with Plukka. A proud moment indeed. We share a love and value for jewellery that embraces the masters, as well as the latest up-and-coming jewellery designers to hit the scene. It’s exactly why I launched KICKGEM to get the word out about talented, emerging designers, and my visit to Hong Kong has unearthed a few gems that I cannot wait to share with you.
GEMOLOGUE GUIDE TO HONG KONG (summary):
STAY IN HONG KONG:
Conrad Hotel, Hong KongNo 88 Queensway, Pacific Place
EAT IN HONG KONG:
Agnès b., G/F, Chung Shan House, 8 & 10, Central
NOSH, 11 Upper Station Street, Central
Duddell’s, Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central
Mak Mak, Landmark, Central
SHOP IN HONG KONG:
Plukka, Shop 113-114, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central
Shanghai Tang, Duddell Mansion
Landmark Shopping Mall, Central
I could hardly contain my excitement about being invited to Hong Kong. The last time I was here, I was just a young girl, mesmerized by the sight of skyscrapers for the first time. The limousine followed the same route I travelled then with my family from the artificial island airport. Ah, the memories!
I love spending time in this small and cozy city. It’s always buzzing with energy and limitless opportunities. It’s not surprising that more than half of the world’s 20 richest, self-made women are Chinese. It has become deeply rooted in this culture for women to reward themselves with jewellery – something that is becoming a habit amongst women all over the world. Fine jewellery is no longer reserved for special occasions and heirlooms, but is a well-deserved accessory for the hard-working and successful woman of today.
To be sitting here at the Conrad Hong Kong Hotel, sipping a cup of my favourite green tea is a dream come true.
What a view! Once again, I am mesmerized by the architecture and impressive skyscrapers of this electrifying city. Victoria Harbour – the very heartbeat of Hong Kong with its long history of international trade and fishing villages.
I am taking a big risk wearing my favourite, dragon print silk robe from Penang, Malaysia – something only Chinese royalty could do. If anyone else was caught wearing the five-clawed royal dragon, they would be sentenced to death. But I am safe in my N°21 shoes that I got for Christmas! I think I will just sit a while in and take in the amazing view before heading out to the boutiques to meet one-of-a-kind designers.
Here I am in the Central District at one of my favourite shopping spots – Hong Kong’s most prestigious shopping centre – where I met with Plukka’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Joanne Ooi. A true force of nature, Joanne’s energy and work ethic is something I truly admire. Our love for jewellery and design was evident from our first introduction. This was going to be an encounter I will never forget. As the former creative director of Shanghai Tang, Joanne has been in the news a lot lately after Plukka’s successful IPO. We soon fell into a discussion about industry and trends, and I felt as though I was on Bloomberg again.
Walking into Plukka is so exciting. With so many incredible jewellery designers all under one roof, from the masters to emerging talent, it’s a breathtaking experience. I spied some of my favourite designers – AS29, Dionea Orcini, Leyla Abdollahi, Bernard Delettrez, Stephanie Deydier and many more. Every designer is carefully curated for their remarkable originality and creativity. It was such a treat to choose my favourite pieces for On The Street…Hong Kong. I couldn’t resist this exotic ring by Wendy Yue. Her designs are expressive, elaborate and artistic. Each one tells its own story in full magnificent colour.
SHOP THE LOOK
Next stop – Baer Jewelry. The most striking thing about co-founder Doris Baer is the love she has for her husband, Peter. They met on the boat in Hong Kong and have been creating beautiful jewellery together ever since. She lights up at the mention of his name – a pleasure to behold. You can feel the love and passion behind this family business.
We never have a design in mind. It always starts with the stone. Ideally, it’s the rough. About half [of our stones are custom cut. Typically, we will start with a rough, then we cut it and develop the concept of the facets. We throw the rules out of the window.
Wearing a bold, round lozenge of black jade set in a cup bezel of black diamond pave and mounted on an angular shank of white jade ring.
I am passionate about this fresh water pearl and how the amethyst picks up on its natural purple splendour. Wearing Amethyst, Purple Ming Pearl & 18K Black Gold Earrings by Baer Jewels.
Like true artists, we met at the beautiful Agnes B. café, where I ordered this cute bear cake.
The most alluring shade of green, it was the perfect choice to showcase these exquisite jade earrings from Baer’s new jewellery collection.
Baer on bear!
When in Rome, or rather Hong Kong, practice the art of ancient Chinese healing technique!
You can see the inspiration in these beautifully crafted rings come from the shape of the stones.
Next stop – NOSH to meet Sophie-Birgitt Debuf, another jewellery designer.
An enchanting area of Hong Kong to meet – I just love it here!
The angular nature of Hong Kong shines through in Sophie-Birgitt’s avant-garde Angles collection. Sophie-Birgitt is not only the talent behind her audacious designs, but also the face of the brand.
Born in Belgium, Sophie-Birgitt was enchanted by this city of Hong Kong and has called it home for several years now.
She is a woman after my own heart and her love for travel and discovery will soon find her moving to London. I cannot wait to see how her jewellery evolves under the influence of the city of London.
Metal is not like a pencil. You can’t just erase it and wipe it out. You invest in two days of work and suddenly it doesn’t resemble the drawing. If I’m not happy, if I’m not satisfied, I’ll just start over…Sometimes, I don’t start over and a ring will transform into something else.
Architecturally inspired, Hong Kong infused, these trendy rings with their elegant, minimalist design, are stackable and fun to wear. They truly capture the spirit of Hong Kong, a wonderful way to remember this magnificent city.
I am having a Zen moment. I just want to soak up as much of this city’s energy as I can. Such a great vibe. The ideal place to follow my passion – meeting fabulous jewellery designers and discovering new designs and exciting places. I just cannot get enough…and it’s only lunchtime!
Speaking of lunch – how could I not visit my favourite spot in town for dim sum with the lovely Joanne Ooi?
As if dining at delicious Duddell’s was not enough to whet my appetite, I’m wearing delicious Prasiolite & Amethyst Cocktail Ring by Baer Jewels! This stunning architectural ring features a custom cut prasiolite next to an incredible custom cut amethyst, both are mounted on a scaffolding of yellow gold.
As I mentioned earlier, Joanne used to be the creative director for Shanghai Tang – a brand that I hugely admire. I have a countless number of silk scarves from them, and I dream about their beautiful jewellery boxes. You should check out their gift items.
It’s the year of the monkey and Shanghai Tang is celebrating with an limited line of jewellery boxes to mark the occasion.
Plukka is celebrating in its own exquisite style with this charming monkey ring.
Making art out of chaos, the Fireworks collection from Suzanne Kalan features scattered baguette diamonds with large custom-cut gemstones.
Wearing “Fireworks (Baguette)” Diamond Ring by Suzanne Kalan. This unusual but highly wearable ring features baguette cut diamonds set in a long rectangle of controlled chaos, in Kalan’s signature “Fireworks” technique.
Now for some sightseeing and a fun ride on a boat for the best views of the city.
I enjoyed spending time with Plukka’s wonderful team. Thank you, girls, for taking such good care of me and organizing this memorable day. It was a treat I’ll never forget. Doo Zha!
All this gem talk has made this jewellery blogger hungry. Time for dinner and a taste of Thai at one of my favourite restaurants – Mak Mak.
But you know I won’t be stopping for long. Stay with me as I head back to London and plan my next exciting trips to Paris, Munich, the Philippines, and NYC. Hope you’re as excited as I am to discover more jewellery stories from around the world.
I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery.
SHOP MY FAVOURITE JEWELRY ONLINE:
GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.
Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
*Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.
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