By Bowy Goudkamp
In mandarin Ming means bright. This makes us echo the question that the famous William Shakespeare once asked his audience when writing Romeo & Juliet as for ‘’What is in a name?’’
Her name might have been exactly what has made this beautiful gemologist, goldsmith and diamond appraiser to become the acclaimed jeweler that she is today. Wearing only her mom’s inherited bangle on a day-to-day base, she allows all the other gems that surround her the full stage.
Tell us more about your style, how it began in Asia, what is the science and art of their craftsmanship that awakened your obsession with jewellery?
‘’My parents lived in Hong Kong before I was born and for the first four years of my life. We came to England with some Chinese art and antiques and so I feel like Asian art and style has always been around me. I have also spent time in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand so the oriental aesthetic does definitely influence a lot of my work. I also developed my own interest in Asian decorative art, traditions of design and reference of jewellery. The strong reverence and love for gems and metals they have in the Asian culture is what pulled me into their worship for their art and craftsmanship too. In ancient Vedic scriptures they wrote about certain gemstones aligning oneself to the planets and to the earth. They hold the tradition of keeping wealth in gold and stones. They also use them in the representation of their religious icons and symbols. Gold and gems are very much tied in to their human existence, much more than you would have in Europe for example. I have tried to honor this knowledge when creating the pieces for my Oriental Garden collection but I also let my own intuition guide me in my jewellery making.’’
Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
‘’When I left school I went to India and did a sort of informal internship. I found a guy sitting outside on the side of the road who made jewellery and I just sat down next to him. We made an arrangement that I would buy the metals and he would teach me his craft. I did the same in Sri Lanka because I wanted to learn different cultural techniques. These craftsmen were a major source of inspiration but my initial love for gems came from getting a bag of beads from a friend when I was seventeen. He owed me some money but could only offer me a bag of beads. I took them, made them into necklaces and sold them. At the time I was more impressed with my ability to sell something that I had made myself but looking back the beads were actually incredible. I had garnets, lapis lazuli, amber and other amazing gemstones but I was only able to see them as colors at the time. I sold them for ten or twenty pounds as that was the time it took for me to make the necklaces. Of course they sold brilliantly because some people were more familiar with their true value than I myself was at the time. But the more I worked with the beads the more they got a hold on me. And as my interest grew that’s when I set out to India. It was then that my obsession with beads, gemstones and jewellery was really ignited and I became obsessed with making my own.’’