As we move along Windsor Castle's sprawling 26 acres, we are mesmerized by the great sense of history and majesty.
At over 900 years old, it is one of England's oldest castles and is a periodic residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
It houses a grand collection of fine art including paintings by Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto.
England is also the home of featured jewelry designer Ming Lampson.
Individuality is important to many people from identical twins to next-door neighbors.
A memorable mark of distinction can leave a lasting, lifelong impact on others. With that said the public's interest in custom-made, or bespoke jewelry, is becoming a growing trend in the jewelry industry.
At only 33 years of age, Lampson's journey to becoming one of Britain's leading bespoke jewelers is long, and distinguished. "I was given a bag of gemstone beads when I was a teenager. I had no idea what each one was but I was absolutely transfixed," she explains.
"Jewelry can symbolize so much, and this symbol can last forever transcending generations. Gems and metals hold one's spirit."
Around age 21, Lampson began her jewelry journey working for Asian "stone dealers and jewelers. I learned how to sort and grade gemstones, and I learned the ancient techniques of metalwork."
She studied jewelry design at London's Guildhall University; gemology at the Gemological Institute of America; and received a Diamond Diploma from the Gemological Association of Great Britain. Lampson also apprenticed with Jaipur jewelers. In 2007, she established her company Ming Design.
Her diverse work experience greatly influences her delicately ornate and feminine jewelry. Asian architecture and symbolism play a major role in her princess themed collections. "I try to achieve a modern aesthetic with my jewelry, and the East and West influences are a part of my personal ancestry," she says.
Using 18-karat white and yellow gold, emeralds, Tahitian pearls, rubies, and sapphires, Lampson creates remarkable jewelry. Her 18-karat yellow gold Mudra Pendant, from the Tibetan Princess Collection, is a beautiful representation of a ritual hand pose seen in art and sculpture of Buddhist deities.
The Superman Ring, from the Japanese Princess Collection, is a sublime item made with glowing yellow gold, and cylindrical, deep green emerald crystals resembling mythological Kryptonian crystals. The ring seemingly pays homage to Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Showa) who died in 1989 and was a devoted fan of the black-and-white t.v. series Adventures of Superman, which starred the late George Reeves.
Her interpretations of ancient dragon symbolism, such as the Dragon Chasing Flame Pearl, and a famous painting of renowned Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai are breathtaking. Lampson's dedication to creating such magnificent custom-made pieces is equally awe-inspiring.
Getting a design just right, remaining specific to a client's personal history and personality--while also adhering to their budget--is of utmost importance to Lampson.
"One of my clients wanted a green-blue gem; the color of the sea in which she and her husband dived into. It took months and dozens of stones before I found a match."
Lampson relishes the creation of uniquely special pieces, "To have something and to know you're the only one in the world who has it, to me that is the ultimate luxury."
Photo 1 (top right): 18-karat Yellow Gold Lake Palace Cuff from the Indian Princess CollectionPhoto 2 (bottom left): 18-karat Gold Golden Carp Earrings with Crystals Drops from the Chinese Princess Collection