Worn by Theresa: Alexander Laut A Pair of Colored Sapphire and Diamond Earrings (Lot 517), Adler A Diamond 'Calla Lily' Brooch (Lot 515), Patek Philippe, A very fine and exquisite white gold, baguette diamond-set wristwatch (Lot 986), bracelet and ring (Theresa's own). Worn by Charlene: A Diamond and Opal Ring (Lot 612), Mikimoto A Pair of Conch Pearl and Diamond Earrings (Lot 530), Mikimoto A Conch Pearl, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Necklace (Lot 529), A Pink Spinel, Zircon and Diamond Ring (previously acquired at Phillips).
Dr. Theresa Fok is a woman who wears several hats. She’s the Founder and Managing Director of Jade Land Properties, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a magazine contributor, and even an occasional radio host. But above all, she’s a mother.
Today, she is joined by her daughter, Charlene Ng (who also happens to be the General Manager of Jade Land) at their lush event space in Central to share her lifelong journey of collecting, heirlooms to pass on to the next generation, and their loving relationship.
It’s crystal clear that the pair are extremely close despite their differences in demeanor. No stranger to the spotlight, Theresa exudes a natural confidence in front of the lens. She loves the camera, and the camera loves her back. Meanwhile, Charlene's sweet demure shines through her calm composure. The mother-daughter duo model some of the key lots from our upcoming Jewels & Jadeite Auction. As the ladies sort through the pieces to wear, we can’t help but notice some of our past lots in their possession too.
Worn by Theresa: An Impressive Emerald and Colored Diamond Bangle (Lot 622), A Jadeite Cabochon and Diamond Flower Ring (previously acquired at Phillips), other jewelry (Theresa's own). Worn by Charlene: A Sapphire, Diamond and Colored Diamond Ring (Lot 618), Audemars Piguet Diamond Wristwatch (previously acquired at Phillips), diamond ring (Charlene's own).
Mum takes the lead when it comes to being on screen. But when it comes to jewels, there is a plot twist. Charlene has grown to become quite the gem expert and is armed with her very own gem kit that she uses to inspect the jewels. As Theresa admits her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, she relies on Charlene who she claims knows her style more than she does herself. True to form, we witness this as Charlene has already eyed a few pieces that she’s selected for the shoot and hints she hopes to win them for her mum at the live auction later this month.
“Actually, we are sitting in the exact spot where we usually bid!” Using Jade Land’s lounge space, Theresa delights in hosting gatherings and bringing people together for such events and bids over the phone. Even today, her confidante, Freda Wong is here to support her friend’s photo shoot and take a peek at the Fall auction lots.
“Collecting is a hobby of mine. It means so much more when I can share this with my friends and daughter too. We enjoy being together and bidding together,” Theresa remarks as she admires the jewels.
Charlene hesitates over the Alexander Laut Colored Sapphire and Diamond Earrings (Lot 517), but instead rests her hand on the 6.52-carat Diamond and Opal Ring (Lot 612). The fire of the diamond paired with the irregular structure of the crystal and pinkish luster is rare to come by. Charlene's excitement can barely be concealed as she shows her mum and they both take turns trying it on.
Most people think that fine jewelry has to be traditional. I love this ring because it's elegant yet contemporary. Its simplicity makes it modern, and the use of opal is a fun twist to a minimalistic design. - Charlene Ng
Sharing more than just good genes, when asked about what other common interests the two have, Theresa and Charlene answer in unison – our philosophy. Mother and daughter are members of the Soka Gakkai International and both practice the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism. “We apply our Buddhist philosophy in everyday life,” Charlene explains.
Worn by Theresa: Alexander Laut A Pair of Colored Sapphire and Diamond Earrings (Lot 517), A Diamond and Opal Ring (Lot 612), Rolex Ref. 11659912SA (Lot 828).
“To me, that means striving to be the best versions of ourselves.” A strong advocate of this sunny energy that she describes it, Theresa adds “this is what I want to pass on to Charlene. I want the best for her, so it’s hard not to be protective. Over the years, I’ve learned that she’s going to make her own decisions and sometimes we will make mistakes. It is just my hope for her to get back up and learn from them.”
“I’ve inherited this attitude from my mum, which I’m so grateful for,” says Charlene. “Mum’s taught me so much – how to be a good person, differentiate right from wrong and to rise above adversities. Now that I’m following in her footsteps, I'm learning how to do business from her too. She's the reason for my strong work ethic. Nothing is a given, and I need to work hard for everything, including my own happiness."
Speaking of passing on values, we took the chance to ask about the valuables too. Before us is a sizable collection of mesmerizing pieces, thanks in no small part to Charlene’s sharp eye for impressive jewels.
Just as Charlene enjoys picking out things for Mum, Theresa likes to spot younger styles that are appropriate for her daughter. At first glance, the Mikimoto Conch Pearl, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Necklace (Lot 529) didn't make it off the presentation tray but as soon as Charlene tried it on, it quickly became apparent that both mother and daughter agree that the necklace is a winner. "It makes all the difference when you physically wear it," says Charlene. "I like the way it rests perfectly on the neck, just slightly above the collar bone."
"It's refreshing to see cultured pearls used in such a stylish way. The pink conch pearl and the diamonds make for a beautiful motif that isn't too over the top for someone of Charlene's age," Theresa adds as she centers it on her daughter's neck. They are reminded that the necklace comes with matching conch pearl and diamond cluster earrings (Lot 530), and it's safe to say that these items have made their way onto their bidding list.
Worn by Theresa: A Fine Red Spinel and Diamond Ring (Lot 547), Franck Muller watch, ruby and diamond earrings and ruby bracelet (Theresa's own). Worn by Charlene: A Lavender Jadeite and Diamond Ring (Lot 540), Audemars Piguet Diamond, Sapphire and Gold Wristwatch (previously acquired at Phillips), Diamond and pearl earrings (Charlene's own).
Of all the fantastical jewels in front of me, I am curious if any piece(s) are dearest to them and why. A no brainer for the soon-to-be-bride, Charlene who proudly presents her engagement ring, “he chose this diamond and even designed the band with a jeweler. I had no idea he was going to propose to me on our trip to El Nido in the Philippines.”
“We are all so excited for her. We are currently shopping around for her bridal jewelry and it’s such a fun and memorable moment in our lives,” Theresa adds.
For Mum, she’s got a special timepiece in mind. To her, the most important jewels may not be the most expensive. “Actually, that's a Piaget diamond watch that I bought at Phillips a couple of years ago. My friends encouraged me to bid for it and I think they now regret it - now they wish they had bought it for themselves. I was lucky to win it. I love it.”
However, the sentimental Theresa tells us the story of her gold Rolex. “When I had my first child, Brian, his father gifted me this watch,” she begins. “It’s irreplaceable because it marks such a lifechanging moment in all our lives.”
Taking a cue from her friend who has also previously bought from Phillips, Theresa has collected things for the special moments that are yet to come. "I commemorate special events in our lives with precious jewels and sometimes acquire things that I know will celebrate future landmark occasions. I could see this Sapphire and Diamond Ring (Lot 618) marking something memorable one day," explains Theresa. A fan of statement pieces, Theresa definitely shows off the chunky jewels very well.
This 5.61-carat Burmese sapphire is spectacular for its size and clarity considering the certificates show no indications of heating. - Dr. Theresa Fok
The apple evidently doesn’t fall far from the tree. Upon closer inspection, a lot of Theresa can be seen in Charlene, their relationship is undeniably strong. Honing her skills as a real estate magnate under her mother’s tutelage, the budding professional has an immense undying appreciation for her mother. “Mum is my boss at work, and I see her every day. She’s also my best friend.”
“It’s very special to be able to work with Charlene. I always encourage her to make things her own because that is what will ultimately define her,” says Theresa.
Apart from the precious jewels and timepieces, there’s so much more beyond the material things as Charlene attests. “All of the precious things we own are a blessing. I wish to pass them on to my children one day. But, most importantly, I want my mother’s joyous spirit, generous virtue and thoughtfulness for the next generation.”
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