Stones that rock, Shanghai

Leah Lambert and Annie Tsinonis, co-owners and designers at Stones That Rock based in Singapore, sure know a thing or two about gem-spotting. Join them as they uncover the city of Shanghai’s best-kept secrets.

What drew you to Shanghai? 

Annie and I have a love affair with this city. We each lived there with our families – and that’s where we first met. We both moved to Singapore around the same time 7 years ago and one of the main reasons we started our business was to have an excuse to keep going back.

Where did you stay?

We travel to Shanghai between 2-4 times a year and we normally stay at one of the 5 star hotels on the Bund. But for this most recent trip, we each brought our youngest children with us and therefore we needed more space. A Shanghainese friend recommended New Harbour Serviced Apartments, near People’s Square. It was absolutely fabulous. Having the extra space and a kitchen was great, but more than anything, the location was perfect.

Highlight of the trip…

Where to start? Being there with our kids was fun, catching up with old friends, going for early morning walks and eating street food for breakfast, visiting a neighborhood ballroom and dancing with the locals and of course, creating our latest collection for Fall/Winter: A Midas Touch – STR Metallics.

Local Style …

Is quite high fashion and edgy, especially for evening but pretty much anything goes.

Must Pack …

Comfy shoes and a credit card for all the great shopping and dining options available.

Best Shopping …

Annabel Lee for gorgeous jewellery and inspiration. Woo Scarf & Shawl for the most beautiful cashmere scarves, Casa Pagoda for fun home wares and furniture, June Wang for beautiful upholstery fabrics and Madame Mao for cultural revolution-inspired gifts and clothing. We also recommend that you simply walk along any of the streets and discover any number of the tiny boutiques that dot the city especially around the French Concession, Changle Lu and Xinle Lu. No visit to Shanghai is ever complete without a trip to the fabric market at Lujiabang where you can have anything made or copied.

Favorite shopping finds…

We each love digging around Dongtai Lu “antique market” for the odd gem as well as spending hours in the wholesale markets around Yuyuan Gardens finding anything and everything from silk knots and jade to incorporate in our designs to Chinese decorative items to hang around our homes.

Local phrase…

Duō shǎo qián? (How much?), Tài guì le! (Too expensive!), Bù yào (Don’t want)

Favorite local haunt…

Walking the streets of the ‘old town’ around Yuyuan Gardens. This has been a favourite pastime for 10 years, but sadly, many of the lanes and houses are disappearing – so you need to hurry!

First time visitors must see… 

The view from the top of the World Trade Centre in Pudong – it takes your breath away. Also wander through Peoples’ Park and watch parents trying to find marriage partners for their children – quite an amazing sight. We also recommend you have a walk along the Bund and look across the river to Pudong, then the next day take a look back across from the other side to Puxi – It’s worth taking in these views day and night.

One local secret…

We will give you two secrets: Yang’s Fry Dumpling – this fantastic dumpling chain is everywhere… (absolutely delicious!) and cocktails at the rooftop bar at House of Roosevelt on the Bund.

Stones that rock, Hema

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