IN ADDITION to creating jewellery for celebrity clients and fulfilling custom orders of the British royal family, Asprey’s artisan craftsmen have, over the years, fashioned unusual items to pander to their sophisticated clients’ fancies.
Among them are:
1925 – A necklace of five graduated rows of natural pearls mounted in a platinum clasp was commissioned by Queen Mary for her granddaughter Princess Margaret, on the occasion of her 18th birthday.
1930 – Huge teak travelling trunks for each of the Maharajah of Patiala’s five wives. Each blue velvet-lined trunk was filled with solid silver items for bathing and grooming, with the bottles for pouring hot water bearing spouts with tigers’ heads.
1973 – A bespoke chess set was commissioned for Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr’s birthday. Each piece was modelled upon Ringo’s own beringed hands and differentiated by gesture: the bishop’s hand blesses while the rook is a closed fist. Half the set was cast in sterling silver and the rest was gold-plated.
1990 – The ultimate picnic accessory: a trailer in the form of a picnic basket was created for an American client. It contained not only the crockery, cutlery, silverware and glassware but also mahogany furniture for 16 people and a barbecue set.
1997 – The enormous necklace at the core of the plot of the blockbuster film Titanic. The “Coeur de la Mer” necklace commissioned for the film was made of blue quartz. However, for Oscar night, another was made with a 170-carat sapphire and 65 diamonds, and was auctioned off for US$2.2mil (RM6.87mil) at a charity ball.