It was a night to remember forever!

She had not slept.

All night long Melanie had been thinking about the next day.

James had been given tickets to the most prestigious gala event on the ‘A list’ calendar for the year. His company was the sponsor of the wines to be served to the elite of society. The gold plate dinner had sold out. The list of attendees read like a who’s who of fashionable society. Actors and Actresses, millionaires and billionaires, Ministers and Prime Ministers, there were even several members of the Royal Family who were attending.


Her appointment at the stylist was booked for 2pm and the dress she had chosen hung ready. Melanie knew that she would look stunning in the off the shoulder black evening gown. Her auburn hair would be worn up to display her slender neck. She would be wearing the pendant that James had bought for her from the Ching Dynasty Collection.

The mother of pearl centrepiece was set between two strands of pearls and sat high in full glory. It had been owned by the longest Queen consort in the history of the British Royal Family; Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who had been on the throne of Great Britain and Ireland with her husband King George III from 1744 to 1818. The piece hand been commissioned by the King to be hand carved in 1780 in Canton China. It was an incredible work of exquisite carving into the finest mother of pearl and set now by master jewellers, it was indeed unique and some would say; a simply priceless and timeless heirloom.

She was nervous nonetheless as she knew the other ladies who would be at the gala dinner, would be wearing the most expensive jewellery that money could buy. James had bought the centrepiece for $5,000 {Aust}from the Ching Dynasty Collection and the setting had cost another $4,000 by the jeweller in New York.

As the day progressed Melanie’s apprehension grew and grew. She even contemplated telling James she couldn’t go.

As the hour arrived to dress, James reassured her that she would shine like no other at the dinner; no matter how much money they had, or from which background they had come.

He had been provided with a car and driver to take them to the gala. James looked dashing in his black tuxedo and as he held her hand, she felt safe and comforted.

Arriving at the kerbside the valet opened the door for her. Melanie’s anxiety attack went into hyperspace as she stepped out into a sea of paparazzi; cameras and flashes going wild for that ‘once in a lifetime’ shot. As they walked towards the entrance, they were stopped by one of the reporters; they would later discover she was from Vogue Magazine. Her question wasn’t about who they were, but about the pendant she was wearing. The cameras clicked frantically.  

When they finally were able to leave and enter the lobby to be escorted to the ballroom, her mind was spinning.

Pre Dinner cocktails were being served and people stood around casually chatting. Everyone; except Melanie, seemed relaxed and at home in the lush surroundings. Music and laughter filled the room.

As she and James approached a group of people, there seemed to be hush in the laughter and everyone seemed transfixed on her.

The group of 10 people parted to allow James and Melanie to join them. Melanie immediately noticed the exquisite dresses and jewels worn by the other ladies, but all they wanted to know about, was her pendant.

She relaxed and told them the history of the Queen Charlotte piece. Everyone was spellbound as she recanted the story of the Queens life all those years ago and how the piece had come on the market at auction by Christie’s in London on May 7th 1819. As she told the story more people came around to hear about this exquisite piece – she felt like a modern-day Cinderella at the Ball.

She was shepherded from group to group being introduced to what seemed like everyone present. Everyone was enchanted by her. James looked so proud as he stood with his ‘bell of the ball’; he looked like he would explode. Everyone gave James their business cards and insisted they stay in touch.

As the evening drew to its inevitable close and they returned home and back to reality, both knew this would be the first and the finest of many more nights to come, with the ‘A list’ of society.

James put on ‘Wonderful Tonight’ as they sat sipping a night cap and talking about their surreal evening.

A month later the article in Vogue Magazine was published.


If her love lifts you higher and her name is echoed in every love song that was ever written, show her your love with a unique gift from the Ching Dynasty Collection below.

Ching Dynasty Collection

We are the custodians of some of the most exquisite examples of hand carved artistry from 200 years ago, here as just a few for you to look at: