Harumi Klossowska de Rola knows the exact moment when she fell head over heels in love with precious stones. The Swiss-born jewellery maker was with her father, the late Polish-French painter Balthazar Klossowski de Rola, known as Balthus, and her mother, the Japanese painter Setsuko Ideta. The family was visiting an art gallery in Paris. She was seven years old.
"The door to the Galerie Claude Bernard opened and what greeted me was this amazing collection of rough stones. I was only young and my eyes were at the same level as the stones, and I remember spending hours staring at them. It was like walking into a forest of emeralds … I will never forget that moment and the feeling it gave me," says Klossowska.
More than three decades later and her love affair with precious stones continues, this time bringing her to Hong Kong for a partnership with Larry Jewellery (Klossowska's new series of fine jewellery for the house will be unveiled in July).
For now, she's keeping the details under wraps. "I love Asian art and mythology so maybe I will incorporate those into the designs … I'm not giving too much away," Klossowska says.
But from her track record, it would be safe to say that it will be impressive, just as her past collaborations have been, including a collection for Boucheron. In 2008 she designed a line for the French brand's 150th anniversary. The pieces sold on the day of their presentation. She's also collaborated with Chopard, Montblanc and Swarovski.
Fashion actually played a big role in getting her to where she is now. At the age of 18 she attended the Debutantes Ball in Paris where she met a young designer by the name of John Galliano. But after working for him, she decided that she wanted to weave magic not with fabrics but the colours of stones, wood and jewels.
"I spent some of my childhood growing up in the countryside in Switzerland so nature has always been a huge source of inspiration for me … It's so precious and such a source of beauty. It should never be underappreciated," she says.
"I've been to Hong Kong many times and I'm always impressed by how much nature there is near the built-up city. Just the other day I saw this huge eagle flying around the city - it was amazing."
And while nature has inspired much of her work, there's no denying that with such a creative pedigree, artistic talent was embedded in her DNA.
"When I was growing up my parents were constantly speaking about colours and beautiful images," Klossowska says.
"I think unconsciously, even when I design jewellery, I can still hear those conversations going on between my parents.
"While staying at the Villa Medici in Rome I spent a lot of time picking up rocks, sandstone and mosaic fragments - these childhood moments shaped me."