A remarkably well kept structure known as Qiang Castle is located on the side of mountain in Southwest China. This incredible 2,000-year-old fortress is still occupied by the Qiang people who eagerly welcome visitors to view the castle's residential houses and underground water network that supplies drinking water and air conditioning. China is also home to featured jewelry designer Dora Tam.
Contrary to current news reports, not every aspect of China's jewelry industry is marred with controversy.
Due to the economic downturn, in 2009 the price for platinum in the global market dropped creating a drop in prices for platinum jewelry that in turn created a rise in the sale of platinum jewelry in China.
Auction houses, such as Sotheby's, are energized with activity of Chinese buyers with lucrative means who seek out and purchase fine diamond jewelry as prized investments. Tam's elegant, differentiated white gold and platinum pieces would undoubtedly factor into a prospective buyer's desire for an heirloom or valuable hedge.
A one-time student of metallurgy and jewelry at Canada's Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology, Tam utilized her gift for simplistic yet idiosyncratic design while working for several Hong Kong jewelry houses over the course of eight years.
During that time, she was the recipient of the World Gold Council's Jewelry Design Award for earrings and a brooch/pendant. At a friend's prompting, however, Tam decided to branch out on her own.
In 2001, she established Dora Tam Design, with an aesthetic approach geared towards artistic integrity. "I believe the value of a jewelry item does not lie in the intrinsic value of gemstones or the metal but its artistic value."
The key element of Tam's beautiful jewelry is small but striking details. The Pod Ma Dmar Po pendant and ring from her Lotus collection highlight black, Tahitian pearls reminiscent of Germany-based brand Gellner. The metal is accented with a beautiful floral motif that appears to be etched in or either delicate enamel work.
The contrasting shadings on the Mayaguana ring and pendant from The Bahamas collection also appear to be either enamel work or oxidation.
The delicate pop of tiny pink stones on her Crus ring and earrings from The Starry Night collection provide a perky kind of energy. The thick ring band in particular holds what appear to be coiled etchings that resemble delicate, thin puffs of smoke.
The fluid and minimalistic but eye-catching details of the jewelry really displays Tam's gift for subtle artistry.
It is clear why, after nine years, her brand has continually attracted connoisseurs of superlative fine jewelry, as well as corporate and government clientele who purchase her wares as "gift requests" for special events and occasions.
Photo 1 (top right): Blue Bell Pendant from Intermezzo Collection
Photo 2 (bottom left): Pad Ma Dmar Po Ring from Lotus Collection