Known for magnificent jewellery pieces that blend Eastern and Western influences, Anna Hu brings new meaning to the phrase "time is precious". "I try to capture the sparkle moment, or I try to freeze a certain beautiful melody feeling," says the Taiwanese-born founder of Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie. "Sometimes I feel I'm fighting with every second, and sometimes I feel, especially after I deliver a perfect piece of jewellery, as if the moment is frozen, it's timeless." Hu, who pursued a career as a classical cellist until sidelined by an injury at the age of 20, launched her company a decade later, after earning degrees from Columbia University, the Gemological Institute of America, Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her jadeite, emerald and diamond "Orpheus" ring - an interpretation of the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice sold by Christie's for more than HK$20 million - recently broke the world sales record for a Chinese contemporary jewellery artist. History and mythology are a recurring theme for Hu, who studied art history in graduate school. "I really like to connect the past to future," she says. "Jewellery is a very interesting subject. If we only stay contemporary, there's no depth. Jewellery is the oldest form of any type of art. As long as there have been human beings, we see bones around the neck as ornaments. So history is a very important element to creating any piece of jewellery." Based in New York, Hu travels frequently to visit her jewellery artisans in Paris, check in on stores in Taiwan and Shanghai, and consult with bespoke clients around the world. "For the past six years, I have [had] no idea which time zone I belong to," she says, laughing. "On my iPad I have probably eight different time regions." The busy itinerary doesn't phase Hu, who once practised the cello up to five hours a day. "I never feel I need to have free time because I enjoy every second of my job. Even my team thinks it's such an intense, exhausting schedule, but I just have so much fun," says the mother of two. "I never feel I have to take a break because I feel like I'm on a vacation when I work." Last year, Hu embarked on an ambitious project with the publication of Symphony of Jewels, Opus 1 . The first of 10 planned books showcases 100 of the designer's one-of-a-kind pieces. While the initial idea was to publish a new opus every five years, Hu now plans to take a more flexible approach. "At first I felt like I wanted to achieve. But at this point in my life I just feel I want to enjoy," she says. "However, I'm very determined that I want to show respect to my idol Beethoven. So no matter what, I'm going to complete 10." The award-winning designer, however, is not one to dwell on her previous works. "I have a tendency to forget everything I have done," she says. "I always look forward and never look back. I like to think about the future and I let history talk about my past."