Monica Pennio from Henham speaks to Essex Life

PUBLISHED: 14:14 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 February 2013

Monica Pennino

Monica Pennino

Pearl ardourMonica Pennino shares with Essex Life her passion for pearls and why, when she decided to move to Henham, it was love at first sight

Tell us about your family
I live with John, my partner of 15 years, and James, our 12-year-old son. My family of 'origin' is still in Italy and we try to spend as much time as we can with them.

Do you have any pets?
We have two dogs: Bonnie, a bubbly golden retriever and Pan, the eternal puppy flat coat retriever. We also have Flame, a lovely chestnut pony, and a few fish in our pond.

How old are you?
Fortyish, for ever and ever.

Where do you live?
We live in Henham, the prettiest village in Essex.

How long have you lived there?
Eight years in June and the time has flown by.

What do you like about where you live?
When I saw Henham, for me it was love at first sight and the flame continues to burn. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and it is a pleasure, every day, to be able to see a huge variety of wildlife on our doorstep.

What do you do for a living?
I own and run M&P Le Mie Perle in Bishop's Stortford. We are specialist pearl merchants and jewellers.

What do you love about your job?
Absolutely everything. I have been fortunate enough to be able to transform my passion into my job and every day is great. I see pearls valued at £1 and I see pearls valued at £1million. Choosing them and bringing them home is very special.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Not long after I had opened Le Mie Perle, I was commissioned to make a very special piece by a gentleman, with excellent knowledge of pearls, looking for the best of the best for his wife. It took me months to be able to source it and I literally had to go to the end of the world for it. When I presented the piece they were completely taken aback, it was perfect. I will never forget that moment.

How do you relax?
I am not sure I ever do, which is not a good thing. I think I can only really relax by the sea. I think water is a natural essential for me.

What are your hobbies?
I love cooking for the family on Sundays, gardening, reading and spending time with friends.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I love writing. I would love one day, to be able to spend time by the sea, designing beautiful jewellery and writing.

What is your worst habit?
Hiding things in the house for safe keeping and forgetting where I've put them.

Where are the best views to be had in Essex?
I never tire of the scenery in Henham. In fact, as I drive home in the evenings Henham always surprises me and makes me feel how lucky I am.

Describe Essex in one sentence
England's best kept secret.

What is your favourite town in Essex and why?
Saffron Walden, because it retains the old market town feeling and because I just love Audley End.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My family...and pearls.

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