Ming Lampson is one of the new names in this year’s Designer Vivarium, presenting the work of individual, independent designer-jewellers from around the world. Based in London, Ming was born in Hong Kong – hence her name – and drawn to gemstones from an early age, as so many of the designers were, she went on to study gemmology and learn about stones in Jaipur. She set up her own business, in 1998, as a bespoke jeweller, only working on commission, but in the last few years she has created two collections, both inspired by the East, by Asia and her roots.
The first collection, Oriental Garden, was conjured from Ming’s personal fantasy of an Asian garden, stylized, manicured, filled with fragrant, exotic plants and alive with winged creatures. The designs, as always with Ming’s work were highly stylized, abstracted, evoking emotions rather than depicting realistic images, a pool of lapis in which floats a single green tourmaline, representing a lotus leaf, a caterpillar translated into a ripple of emeralds encased in rose gold, an opal dragonfly ring with openwork wings wrapping the finger. Her second collection, Reverence for Nature, revolves around the Japanese preoccupation with the seasons. Ming explains, “I wanted to capture something fleeting in materials that last forever”. Again the designs are stylized, and gemstones are the focal point of each jewel; blossoms, for spring, a rendition of the traditional ‘Mons’ style flowers, in lace-like diamonds on ring; wintry aquamarine ice flowers, cold, sleek and sharp shards of ice; ripe, succulent berries for autumn, vibrant turquoise flowers for summer. She says she has explored the stones, their colours and associations, and pushed herself to technical challenges, in the construction of the jewels, bringing fluidity, and a strong sculptural quality, particularly for her earrings in which she experiments with line and form, “dressing the ear”, blending the classicism of the subject with a very modern edge. Each jewel is one of a kind, and all are hand-made in Ming’s atelier in London.