JCK Asks…Christian Tse



As a certain metal band sang, let there be rock(s)

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’ve also been pretty good to Christian Tse. The Pasadena, Calif.–based designer first made a name for himself with ­platinum and gold mesh jewels. But recently, he’s become known for diamonds. Stunning, natural color diamonds. If he’s not fashioning a fancy purplish-pink one into an engagement ring, he’s covering an entire watch dial with carats upon carats. (To tell time on one of his Prismatic Timepieces, press a hidden stem and the hours and minutes light up through the stones.) Hey, anything that gives us an excuse to wear more diamonds.

Age: 41

Number of years in the biz: 15-plus

Number of employees you oversee: 50

Family/pets: An amazing wife and three beautiful children

Describe your personal style: Casual chic

Christian Tse Radiance timepiece

First piece you ever designed: 24k gold bracelet with platinum that was inspired by ancient ­Cambodian designs

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Natural pink diamond over 20 cts.

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Kindness is magical and will return in many ways.”

Worst piece of advice: “Don’t go there!”

First job ever: A paperboy delivering The Detroit News

How did you get started designing jewelry? My family owned a jewelry store in Michigan, and as a teenager I began learning the craft on the bench sizing rings.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I have always had a love for automotive design, so probably working as an industrial designer!

Most memorable/spectacular/expensive colored diamond piece you’ve ever made for a client:
I designed and sold a spectacular natural vivid blue diamond ring that to this day cannot be replaced!

Favorite color of diamond: Natural vivid orange

What inspired your Prismatic Timepieces? I was experimenting with lighting up a diamond ring. One thing led to another…and then, the idea of a watch…

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: I always wear my 999 Iridium wedding band! I only made two, one for me and one for a client. I’m also wearing my 48 mm ­Radiance Chronograph watch.

iStockphoto

Five items on your desk right now: I have a ­digital millimeter gauge, an orange Swingline stapler, a ­carousel of sunglasses, multi colors of Sharpie ­markers (I cannot get enough of them), and Tootsie Roll lollipops!

Five artists on your playlist: Cee Lo Green, Andrea Bocelli (all of his albums), Eros, the Beatles, and my most favorite…AC/DC!

Exercise regimen: I have been promising myself to start but never do!

What did you have for breakfast? A cheese Danish and coffee (black)

Guilty pleasure: A pint of Rum Raisin Häagen-Dazs

Drink (daytime/evening): Espresso/Grey Goose dirty martini with four olives

First website you check every day (not your own!): Yahoo’s home page

Scent: I don’t wear one particular scent, but I spray different scents each day! I just started wearing Clive Christian.

How do you unwind? I come home and usually have a glass of Cabernet.

Superstitious? I am a little superstitious when it comes to business.

William Morrow

Book you’re reading: Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. ­Dubner

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: The Diamond Cutter by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally

Preferred news source: The Internet

Main means of transportation: Automobile

Favorite movie: TRON (the original)

Who would play you in your life story? Andy Lau

Personal motto: “Integrity and passion produces seemingly impossible results!”