Veteran Hong Kong Canto-pop star Jenny Tseng auctions 50 of her jewellery items for charity
Canto-pop star Jenny Tseng sells 50 jewellery items for charity - and one could fetch HK$3.8m
They are more than just the glittering memories of the love of her life and her rise to super stardom. For Canto-pop star Jenny Tseng, her precious gems are also a way to give something back for a good cause.
Jewellery lovers have a chance to buy a piece of Tseng's collection on Sunday, when 50 items are auctioned by Tiancheng International to raise funds for a charity working with mainland children with cleft lips.
Tseng says she makes regular donations to charity and had decided to clean up the jewellery collection she has garnered over decades. She realised there was a chance to combine the two.
"I love bling-bling," says Tseng, 61, who has sold more than 10 million records since achieving fame in the 1970s. "I was poor when I was a child, and when I started making some money, I decided to buy jewellery besides properties. I can wear jewellery, but not a flat."
The 50 lots range from a golden rutilated quartz bangle offered with no reserve price to a ruby and diamond ring expected to go for up to HK$2.8 million and a jadeite and diamond ring which could raise between HK$2.8 million and HK$3.8 million.
Tseng also revealed that she was an avid consumer - if not always a savvy spender.
"If I were paid HK$3,000 a show, I would spend HK$2,800 on jewellery. When I earned HK$30,000, I spent HK$28,000," said Tseng. "I was a shopaholic."
But not everything was quite what it seemed. When preparing for the auction, she discovered from a receipt that a cross pendant necklace she paid US$8,000 for in the belief it was made by Swiss luxury brand Chopard was, in fact, by a little-known brand.
There were also lessons in maintenance. The ruby and diamond ring had declined from 5.5 carat to 5.01 carat after polishing.
"I didn't keep it well. I had to get the stone polished again, which reduced its weight," Tseng said.
The Macau-born singer rose to stardom across Asia in the late 1970s off the back of theme songs for a host of TVB drama series that became international hits. Known for her powerful vocals, Tseng remains one of the most respected singers in the Chinese-speaking world.
Another of the lots is a jadeite bangle, valued at HK$100,000 to HK$180,000, which she wore at her 1977 wedding to film star Alexander Fu Sheng.
Tseng, who was wearing a gold watch given to her by Fu 33 years ago, became shy when talking about her husband, who died in a car crash in 1983. She said she struggled to focus on more than one task at a time and did not let her eyes wander to other men.
"Maybe that's why I'm still not married again," she adds with a laugh.
The lots on sale make up only a small part of her collection. Tseng plans to keep some important pieces, including one seven-carat Paraiba Tourmaline ring, for her daughter Melody, a music producer in the United States.
"She has little interest in jewellery and encouraged me to do this sale. But there are some pieces that I want her to keep as family treasure."
The money raised will go to the Operation Smile China Medical Mission, a Hong Kong-based charity that has helped more than 26,000 mainland children with cleft lips or palates.
Sunday's jewellery auction also features a jadeite and diamond necklace made up of 11 jadeite cabochons. It is expected to fetch HK$100 million.