Ong Chin Huat takes a look at the stunning Nature’s Treasury jewellery collection by Australian Bespoke Jeweller Kate McCoy in collaboration with interior design maestro Bill Bensley.
For those lucky enough to have stayed at the glamourous Siam Hotel in Bangkok, or have visited the sybaritic Capella in Ubud, Bali; the name Bill Bensley might have been whispered on the lips of those who’s breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of the two places.
An internationally renowned architect, interior designer and philanthropist, this Harvard graduate have been making waves in design circles ever since he started his architectural and interior design practice in Bangkok back in 1989 and later in Bali in 1990.
Fast forward today and with over 200 resorts, hotels and palaces under his belt, Bensley has focussed his considerable energy and talent on conservation and sustainability, with the opening of his own luxury retreat, the Shinta Mani Wild Luxury Tented Camp – Bensley Collection located in Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park. The retreat with its fifteen luxury tents is built around the natural environment with minimal impact to the National park where it sits on.
For someone so accustomed to all things beautiful, it’s no surprise that Bensley decided to divert his deft hand at jewellery design. And as kismet would have it, a chance encounter with gemologist and jeweller Kate McCoy at Bensley’s Shinta Mani Wild resort led to a unique collaboration where McCoy’s expertise in gemstones and jewellery making is fused with Bensley’s unwavering design aesthetics.
The resulting composition of two talented people is as expected – breath-taking jewellery divided into seven heirloom collections composing of 20 pieces in total and aptly named ‘Nature’s Treasury.’ Showcasing natural, rare and exquisite ethically sourced jewels set in one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces, this collection of earrings, rings, necklaces and bangles reflects both Bensley’s and McCoy’s shared values and design ethos.
“When invited to create a range for Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild, it was a natural alignment of values. I am so proud to be involved in conserving and bringing awareness to nature’s importance, beauty and protection. We revere each jewel as a unique and precious legacy of Nature, a piece of art, to be valued and passed down for generations to enjoy.” McCoy said.
Inspired by the beauty of the Shinta Mani Wild resort and its surrounding swathes of nature and wilderness as well as that of Cambodian culture and architecture, its poignant to describe how McCoy was captivated by the exotic Amaranthine Orchid during her stay at the Shinta Mani Wild.
“It was my first walk from Head Quarters to my luxurious private tent at Shinta Mani Wild and while navigating the wilderness with thick jungle vines teeming with life all around, the crunching pathway under my feet, the sounds of birds and the nearby stream I suddenly stopped in my tracks. There she was, a fine, elegant, luminous sight to behold, radiating from the green, gracefully extending in front of me the most delightful purple orchid…. What a breath-taking flower. At that moment, I knew I must make her an immortal jewel.”
Determined to recreate one of nature’s most stunning creations, McCoy trawled through hundreds of gem stocks from the world’s most reputable dealers and eventually came across a rare garnet from Mozambique. Called the Amaranth Garnet, it was the near-perfect match in terms of colour, intensity and luminosity to the flower McCoy chanced upon that day deep in the Cambodian jungles.
The result is a pair of one-of-a-kind earrings made from kite-shaped garnets and flanked with trilliant-cut, and marquise-shaped diamonds set in 18-karat white gold while the stems and centre stones are set in 18-karat rose gold which forms part of the Amaranthine Orchid collection.
Bensley’s mark is also felt in the Bensley Stripes collection where the prolific designer’s signature black and white stripe combination is replicated in a set of five rings, in a limited edition of only five sets. Made from black and white diamonds (naturally!) these stacking rings juxtapose baguette, square and brilliant-cut diamonds all set in 18-karat gold which pay homage to Bensley’s interior design sensibilities.
The other collections in Nature’s Treasury include Orchid, Bamboo, Temple Flower, Jungle Vines, Aramthine Geometry and Zest.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about this unique collaboration with Kate,” Bensley says. “She really has understood the concept of what we are doing here at Shinta Mani Wild and created an incredible range of jewellery to complement the environment. There is something for everyone – from everyday pieces to elaborate and rare pieces… I’m tickled pink with her homage to my much-loved signature black and white stripe design motif.”
And as fitting as anything that comes from nature, this jewellery collection also gives back to nature. 100% of the profits from sales of the jewellery pieces from the Nature’s Treasury collections by Kate McCoy in collaboration with Bill Bensley, will be donated to Wildlife Alliance – an international non-profit forest and conservation organization in Cambodia – which protects the forests surrounding Shinta Mani Wild resort from illegal logging and poaching.
Nature’s Treasury collections can be viewed and purchased on www.naturestreasury.com.au.
For further information and reservations at Bensley Collection-Shinta, Mani Wild Resort, visit https://wild.bensleycollection.com.
Read more jewellery features and guides in our dedicated section here.