[Caution: Crazy Rich Asians spoilers follow!]
When it came to finding the perfect ring for Nick to use to propose to Rachel with in the film adaptation of the beloved novel, the production team created a piece using their restricted budget. But before Nick proposed, the ring was to be worn by his absurdly wealthy, over-the-top mother Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) throughout the film, before she handed it down to her son. The only problem? It wasn’t nearly extravagant enough for the role.
“We had a ring designed already, and our mock-up looked so shitty that Michelle was like, ‘That cannot be the ring I wear,'” the movie’s director, Jon M. Chu, told Vulture about the original piece of jewelry. “I’m like, ‘I know, I know. I’m so embarrassed by it, but we don’t have the money.’ She’s like, ‘I have a better ring than that.‘”
On a mission to save the day, Yeoh turned to her own jewelry box that she had with her. “She pulls it out, and I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s our ring,” Chu said.
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But Chu had planned for Eleanor to wear emerald from the beginning, according the movie’s costume designer, Michelle Vogt, who told The Knot that the original ring was modeled after the engagement ring that John F. Kennedy designed for Jackie Kennedy.
“The ring in the movie, it belonged to me, yes,” Yeoh tells The Knot. “It was very important for it to be real. And Eleanor was a character who knew what she wore had to be flawless. Her [own] mother-in-law did not approve and did not give her the family ring at the end of the day… so that ring had to be very special.”