What do you see when you want a dragon watch that is more feminine? One that is the spirit and heart of a woman? What does she look like?

I love dragons but not mean or angry ones that are always hunted in movies. In particular, I love the Chinese dragon because it's always playing with a ball. The Chinese dragon has different energy than say, the Dragons in Game of Thrones on HBO.

When I first started to design her, I thought she would be beautiful in blue in a bed of flowers on the bottom of the dial. Could she have pink lips? I'd never seen a dragon with pink lips (with good reason, I've learned.)

I had such trouble on the first try (left) that I couldn't objectively see the design so I made her again (right). However, to my dismay, I found I didn't like her at all. She had multiple problems (in addition to the pink lips.) For example, the flowers were bigger than her head. Back to the drawing board.

I started again wanting a more vibrant look to her. I wanted to see more dragon and have her be the focus. Could the flowers have octagon stones set inside that were also time markers? At this point, I had more questions than answers.


In trial #3 on the left, I was getting closer but still, something was wrong. Trial #4 wasn't much better. I thought she looked like a sleepy alien dragon. I wanted her to be softer in spirit than stereotypical dragons but still a force of nature. She's powerfully protective but nurturing too. After much reworking, trial #5 (far right above) was better and I began to relax.


Getting started on the 6th try, I cut the pieces and organized them into piles for easy viewing and assembling. This stage takes a long time. Every piece has to be cleaned and sorted. I always cut extras because at this point, I can never tell if the individual pieces will be magical enough to make the cut and get placed on the dial. The process is slow and intense with each piece being reworked, sometimes multiple times, to get it to fit right.


Example of placing the dragon's eye. Some shell is protected with tape so it doesn't get scratched.


Viola! She is done. From start to finish she took about six weeks but was well worth all the investment.


Did you know that there are over 100 types of abalone? This design uses four different types.

  1. The type of abalone used for the dragon is called Angel Wing. It's tinted purple and sparkles wildly in the light.
  2. The yellow in the mane and olive under her chin are traditional Paua abalone from New Zealand that are tinted yellow and olive. Her eye is also Paua abalone but natural in color.
  3. The scales on the belly are pink heart abalone which is a type that lives in Mexico.
  4. Her eyebrow is black-lip abalone from the Philippines.

Her tongue, horns, and teeth are metal pieces to provide extraordinary detail right where it was needed.

Three amethyst crystals adorn the top of the dial as time markers.

 See the Pearl Dragon in our store.

Celeste Wong
Tagged: dragon