With her superb abilities, one may say that Cheryl Yee has evolved into a “pearl of excellence.” She’s fluent in five languages including Japanese and Spanish, and in all her work—even as a television journalist for China TV—she prides herself on striving for perfection.
Yee also has in her the “pearl of artistry” that started to shine while growing up in her native Taiwan. “I was already artistic as a child. I played the piano and guitar. I also loved doing paintings and sketches then,” she said in a published interview.
And being highly educated—having studied in the United States where she earned a master’s degree after acquiring a degree in mass communications—one can also presume that Yee has that “pearl of wisdom” to tackle life’s challenges.
For two decades, Yee was China TV’s prized gem as her work took her to various countries in Europe and Asia. But despite all the glamour of being a TV celebrity (she also hosted her own TV show on consumer products), Yee had a constant yearning to “find herself” amid all her achievements.
“I was a TV journalist for many years, but chose to leave my job while based in Singapore as China TV Southeast Asia Bureau Chief in 2012 because I had lost passion for my work. Since then, I had tried other jobs in PR and college teaching, still, I could not find myself,” Yee lamented in an article she posted online.
Yee eventually realized what she truly wanted, what could give her ultimate joy: Designing and making jewelry.
“Accidentally I picked up what I loved to do long time ago, DIY jewelry making, and found my zest again. I kept making one piece after another and different colors for each design, mixing and matching genuine pearls, Swarovski crystal elements, gemstones and exotic materials,” she narrated.
The artist in her had gotten all fired up. “The creative process was truly enjoyable and therapeutic, and people really loved the designs, often amazed by such detail-oriented craftsmanship. After all, I pride myself on being such a diehard perfectionist,” Yee said.
She thought of marketing her pearl jewelry collections online “to bring a little joy and happiness” into the lives of more people. Then in 2015, Yee founded Zhen Pearl in Taipei, Taiwan which she said was born out of her “passion for genuine pearls and respect for truly genuine people,” considering that “zhen” means “being genuine” in Chinese.
“Zhen Pearl is my lifelong project, a showcase of my past and present, and path to the future,” Yee declared enthusiastically. “It is about creating a colorful, playful and unconventional pearl fashion with a touch of luxury for the young at heart.”
Believing that “beauty and intelligence can go hand in hand to create beautiful pieces that are well thought out,” Yee said that in Zhen Pearl, “we take pride in our hand-made jewelry of impeccable style with high quality pearls that are hand-selected based on GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Pearl Grading System.”
In the Philippines, Zhen Pearl’s designs are available at Lily Lifestyle Shop in Discovery Primea, a five-star luxury hotel along Ayala Avenue in Makati City. “Many of our jewelry items are featured with semi-custom design, inviting customers to choose a different material or color and size to add dashes of character and personality to the original design,” Yee said.
Besides having the “pearls” of excellence, artistry, and wisdom, Yee also has in her the “the pearl of kindness and caring” especially for the underprivileged. She constantly reminds herself that she’s not selling her beloved pearl designs just to make herself rich, but to fund charity projects.
A charity workshop dubbed “Fly with flying colors!” will be hosted by Yee on Dec. 7, 2-5 pm at the Pacific Plaza Condo, Apt Ridge Row, Ayala Ave., Makati, with proceeds from ticket sales funding early childhood care and education development program in the Philippines’ poor communities.
The charity event will be a “fun-filled afternoon tea party of Christmas carol, lucky draw (1st prize: return air ticket MNL-TPE/KHH), refreshments and a DIY tutorial, all for a good cause.” The tutorial will show how to make the “Birds of Paradise” bracelet patterned after one of the most beautiful creatures on earth with its brilliant plumes.
Yee said the colorful collection of the braided bracelet that has signature tails, which can be trimmed and styled to suit one’s taste, is inspired by the “vibrant culture of Filipinos who are a warm, passionate and playful people.”
She said that each ticket to the event (details at https://zhenpearl.com/products/charity) can feed and send one Filipino child to school for 3 months with MovEd (Molding Optimism and Values through Education), a local NGO committed to childhood care and education in underserved communities.
Yee’s desire to follow her heart and attain joy and happiness not only for herself but for others indeed makes her a priceless “pearl” that Taiwan can truly be proud of.