What would you want if money were truly no object? For most people, this question would be pure fantasy, but for Astrid Leong, who was born into such vast wealth that she has literally lost track of how many properties she actually owns, it is a reality. So what would catch Astrid’s eye? For someone who has been talked about for her impeccable style since she was a teenager (see Crazy Rich Asians), and who is already poised to inherit one of Asia’s greatest jewelry collections, Astrid seeks out objects that are crafted by some of the world’s most gifted artisans—objects that are impossible to replicate—like this singularly lovely turquoise and gold axe head collar necklace by Scott Diffrient.
For over forty years, Santa Fe-based Diffrient has created one-of-a-kind pieces that have become highly valued collectibles sought after by the most astute jewelry collectors. Diffrient, a forerunner in the world of contemporary bead making, is one of the few jewelry designers practicing stone bead making and lapidary art—sourcing the rough stones directly from the miners, doing his own meticulous stone cutting, investing the time and exactitude necessary to produce fine works. This remarkable necklace is composed of one hundred and twenty-nine 22-carat gold beads and eleven pieces of high-grade turquoise from the legendary Fox Mine in Northern Nevada. “I find my design inspiration in ancient cultures—this necklace is a modern version of an ancient design,” Diffrient explains. He calls his works “modern artifacts,” and this piece superbly exemplifies that—it’s chic enough to wear with the most avant garde fashions, yet looks as if it could have been worn several thousand years ago by a Mayan princess.
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