This pair of Diamond “Black Lace” Cuff Bracelets by Michelle Ong for Carnet, Hong Kong, 2000 are currently on display by the exceptional gem and jewelry dealers Siegelson at Masterpiece London 2013, and are one of the most entrancing pieces of jewellery in the entire show.
The design of this pair of semi-rigid 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.
The wide, slightly tapering, simulated peau de soie band is embellished with collet-set diamonds, offset by scroll and bracket diamond-line borders, and further enriched with a delicately pierced, openwork ruffle of diamond foliates. The whole is mounted in blackened silver, platinum, and 18-karat white gold, and contains 3,184 diamonds, the total weighing 44.29 carats.
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.
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 may seem flawless.