Meet the region's leading fashion designers Born in Malta, Hong Kong-based Tayma Page Allies grew up in the Caribbean and West Africa. After completing graduate and postgraduate studies in Britain she taught French, English and Italian in Africa and Britain before moving into public relations. In 1985, she moved to Hong Kong and started studying gemology. Five years later she formed Tayma Fine Jewellery, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Have you always wanted to be a designer? I've always had a flair for design and an eye for colour. Travelling was the inspiration that fuelled my love for art and jewellery. How did you set up your company? Building up and establishing a collection is a slow, expensive process. When I first set up my company, I organised fashion shows in China for a French label and invested my earnings in building up my gemstone collection. About three years later, I concentrated on jewellery design and set up trunk shows locally and overseas. How is your company structured? There are three full-time staff in the shop and three part-timers, but there are many people behind the scenes. As creative director, I oversee the entire design and production process. I choose the gems, and design each piece of jewellery. Sometimes it takes me years to complete a single piece, because I'll only finish it when I find all the perfect stones. How many lines are there? There are two major lines and one diffusion line: a limited collection of exclusive, one-off pieces featuring sapphires, diamonds, aquamarines and necklaces of rare tourmaline. The second collection features versatile jewellery and is more affordable. The third line is highly affordable, with citrines, amethysts, garnets and blue topaz. What's your design philosophy? I design beautiful, elegant jewellery that can take today's woman from the office to a party. I love to create a pin that transforms into a pendant, or earrings that have detachable drops. What inspires you? I grew up by the sea on islands - Malta, Trinidad and Lagos - and I adore the gems that remind me of those fabulous places. I also love art galleries. What does your current collection look like? This season I'm showcasing two gem-encrusted flexible cuff bangles. Where are your designs available? In Hong Kong they're only available at my shop in Prince's Building. What's your biggest influence? My mother is a keen and knowledgeable jewellery collector, and I learnt a lot from her. What's your motto? Esse quam videre - Be, rather than seem to be. In other words - be true.