Cover Dilys Young and her daughter, Pearl Li (Photo: Affa Chan/Tatler Hong Kong)

How Dilys Young and her daughter, Pearl Li, are working together to take their bespoke jewellery brand to new heights

When Dilys Young started her bespoke fine jewellery brand Dilys’ in 1991, she didn’t plan on passing it on to her two daughters, preferring instead to let them pick their own career paths. However Young did notice that her youngest daughter, Pearl Li, was naturally curious about her designs from a young age.

“I observed the way Pearl handled the jewellery with such care, the way she worked meticulously, her ability to listen and understand others, and her eye for aesthetics,” says Young. “I knew intuitively that she would be able to further our brands, if she wished to, when she grew up.”

Young started taking Li to client meetings and private showings to introduce her to the world of fine jewellery. Every piece of jewellery by Dilys’ is made to order and the company has its own team of designers and artisans that are all based in Hong Kong, at its in-house workshop. Bespoke jewellery is, by nature, a private segment of the fine jewellery market and Young attributes part of the company’s success to the high level of trust that she nurtures with each of her clients.

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After Li graduated from the University of the Arts London, she joined Dilys’ and took on the task of strengthening the brand’s online presence to attract new clients—such as making it available on 1stDibs, the luxury online retail platform.

“It’s great because the vision and direction my daughter and I share are very much aligned and we’re working on it through different channels,” says Young.

Li also spearheaded the development of a sister brand called Young by Dilys’—taking some of the qualities associated with bespoke jewellery, such as the timeless elegance and longevity of each piece, and applying it to contemporary designs that are more suited to a younger audience. “It comes from my observation that young people don’t necessarily understand the inner workings of fine jewellery and what justifies the high prices. There is also a tendency to buy affordable jewellery with a more disposable mindset, which I think is quite unhealthy,” says Li.

“Jewellery should be personalised to one’s individual taste and style, which is why I hope to emphasise the concept of ‘slow jewellery’ with the high-quality yet affordable jewellery under the Young by Dilys’ brand. This aligns perfectly with our core strengths in bespoke design.”

Working together can be challenging for a mother and daughter, especially when it comes to keeping their work and family lives separate, but Young and Li see this as an opportunity to explore new ways to grow the business, while cementing the legacy of Dilys’ as a homegrown bespoke jeweller. “I feel super-grateful to be in a position where I can lead alongside my mother, while also having the chance to grow and learn together,” says Li.

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