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Hothouse gems

By Rebecca Lo ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-13 07:33:03

 Hothouse gems

Tam's diamond tiara resembles the delicate qualities of lace combined with the structure of a helmet.

"The brief was to create a tiara," recalls Tam. "I imagined a beautiful model walking alone down a catwalk, wearing a spectacular, sparkling headpiece illuminated by ethereal lights. I felt that a hat would work better than a traditional tiara - I was thinking about woolly hats, flowers, the moon and spirals, and somehow the design for the tiara just came together."

Tam's diamond tiara resembles the delicate qualities of lace combined with the structure of a helmet, encircling the head from its crown with radiating patterns of hearts, clovers and serpentine curves encrusted with diamonds. It is dramatically feminine with an underlying layer of strength, the definition of a contemporary princess.

Around that time, Tam began questioning the hectic pace of Hong Kong. "It is sometimes too fast," she says. "I had to design what my bosses wanted but not necessarily what I felt was beautiful." A new relationship in Macao led to her move there and the courage to strike out with her own brand.

She established Dora Tam Design in 2001 and opened a retail shop on Rua da Se, a stone's throw from Leal Senado. A second shop on Rua do Regedor near Taipa's eat street Rua do Cunha followed a few years later. After Tam set up a separate studio to focus more on design, she eventually closed the original shop.

"I don't want any distractions when I'm designing," she says. "With a retail shop, a lot of customers come specifically to see me. Now I leave the retail part to others."

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