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 year’s most prestigious gala event on the ‘A list’ calendar. 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 New York society. Actors and Actresses, millionaires and billionaires, Ministers and Prime Ministers; there were even several members of the Royal Family who were attending.

“Try to relax Mel, I’ll see you later. Just enjoy the day.” encouraged James as he left for work.

“Easy for you to say.” Melanie replied as the door closed.

“A strong coffee is what is needed right now!” she said under her breath.


The appointment at the stylist was booked for 2pm and the black off the shoulder evening gown she had chosen to wear, hung ready in the closet. Her auburn hair would be worn up to display her slender neck and the pendant that James had bought for her from the Ching Dynasty Collection.

The mother of pearl centrepiece had been set between two strands of pearls. 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. Commissioned by the King it had been hand carved in Canton China in 1780. It was an incredible work of exquisite carving into the finest mother of pearl and set now by master jewellers, it was indeed a unique and simply a priceless, timeless heirloom.

She was nervous nonetheless, as she knew the other ladies 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.

“Don’t worry Mel, no matter how much money they have, or from whatever background they come, you’ll shine like no other diamond there.” James reassured her when he arrived home from work.

Provided with a car and driver by the company, James looked dashing in his black tuxedo and as he held her hand in the back of the limousine, 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. Walking 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.

Finally, they were able to breakaway from the reporters barrage of questions and enter the lobby. Escorted to the ballroom Melanie’s mind was spinning.

Standing around chatting and enjoying pre dinner cocktails everyone; except Melanie, seemed relaxed and at home in the lush surroundings. Music and laughter filled the room.

Approaching a group of people, there was a hush in the laughter as everyone seemed transfixed on Melanie.

Parting the group of 10 people eagerly allowed James and Melanie to join them. Melanie couldn’t help but notice the exquisite dresses and jewels worn by the other ladies, but all they wanted to know about, was her pendant.

Relaxing a little now, she told them the history of the Queen Charlotte piece. 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. Telling the story more people came around to hear about her exquisite piece. She felt like the modern-day ‘Cinderella at the Ball’.

Shepherded from group to group being introduced to what seemed like everyone present, they were enchanted by her. James was so proud as he stood with his ‘bell of the ball’; he looked like he would explode. Business cards were exchanged and everyone insisted they stay in touch.

Inevitably the evening drew to a close. “Stay in touch James. Melanie you were wonderful tonight!” Encouraged one of their new friends as they left the ball room.

Returning home to their small apartment, both knew this would be the first and the finest of many more nights to come, with the ‘A list’ of society.

“You were ‘Wonderful Tonight’” smiled James as they held each other and sipped a night cap, heads spinning with the reality of 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: