Michelle Ong is famous for the beautiful jewellery she designs but also for her ceaseless efforts to promote Hong Kong’s arts and culture. As director and creative head of Carnet Jewellery, which she founded in 1985 alongside Israeli gem dealer Avi Nagar, she has become one of China’s most acclaimed jewellery designers, known for her delicate, graceful, sophisticated creations that are worn by the likes of of Kate Winslet, Wendi Murdoch and Michelle Yeoh.
As the chairman of the First Initiative Foundation, which she founded in 2010, she raises funds for the arts and education with the aim of promoting the city as a creative hub. Its activities include scholarships for outstanding young musicians both locally and abroad, and mentorship and educational outreach programmes; the invite-only galas she organises to raise funds for them have attained legendary status among Hong Kong high society. In 2019 she published the coffee table book Carnet by Michelle Ong, with all proceeds going to the First Initiative Foundation. She has three children with her husband, David Cheung.