In InStyle's October issue, actress and mom-to-be Mindy Kaling reveals the meaningful story behind her favorite pearl and diamond necklace.
Every Christmas when I was in college, I went to Honolulu with my best friend, Jocelyn, to visit her family. Jocelyn’s mother, Hai Luen, was a Juilliard-trained pianist, a former model, and an all-around amazing person who essentially became an auntie to me. She and I shared a love for beautiful jewelry, particularly pieces made with black pearls. She used to take us to Chinatown to shop at the best vendors, and I remember always being struck by how dramatic and gorgeous the stones were up close. When Hai Luen passed away in 2012, sadly within a few weeks of my own mom’s death, Jocelyn gave me Hai Luen’s collection of loose pearls as a way to remember her.
Each stone was so wonderfully unique. I brought them to L.A. jeweler Kirsty Stone to find a way to showcase them together. It took about six months to design the necklace, add a row of diamonds, and get the pearls to hang the right way, but it turned out perfectly. Whenever I put it on, it reminds me of Hai Luen—and the bond between mothers and daughters. She’s a role model for the type of mother I want to be. I know I want to pass this necklace on to my own daughter one day just to be able to tell her the story behind it.
—As told to Jennifer Ferrise
Kaling stars in The Mindy Project, streaming now on Hulu. For more stories like this, check out the October issue of InStyle Magazine, available on newsstands, through Amazon, and available for digital download now.