Feeling blue, Astrid goes to see her friend Stephen Chia for a pick-me-up. He is a discrete jeweler for the world's wealthiest.
What does it meant to be a discrete jeweler, you might ask? Well, do you have lots of money but don't want the world to see you sell off your heirlooms to pay for your son's bad debt? Stephen Chia is your man!
We're given a detailed description of the inside of Stephen's boutique. Here's what you need to know: security doors, mirrors, velvet furniture. And hidden somewhere jewels. Lots of jewels.
Stephen and Astrid met in Paris, where "it was as rare to meet a teenage Singapore girl interested in eighteenth-century cameos as it was to see a young Chinese man behind the counter at a joaillier as distinguished as Mellerio dits Meller" (1.15.4). And so friends they became.
He understood her taste jewelry, but it took him three years to figure out who on earth she was.
At this point in their relationship, Stephen knows Astrid's moods by how she reacts to pieces he shows her, but he's never seen her like this before.
After showing her a bracelet, he asks if she liked the charm bracelet Michael bought her for her birthday.
Astrid knows nothing about a charm bracelet.
And her birthday was in August.
And Michael never buys her jewelry.
She fakes it and says she loves it.
Inside Astrid goes into a panic.
To make herself feel better, Astrid purchases an exorbitant amount of jewelry in just 20 minutes, including a set of earrings Stephen brought out as a joke.
Stephen is worried about Astrid. He recalls that she had been this impulsive after her break up with Charlie Wu and wonders if there's "trouble in paradise" (1.15.22).
Astrid tallies up her purchases (over a million dollars worth) and feels "bloody fantastic" (1.15.23).
As she looks at the Clark Gable cuff links she bought for Michael, she considers him having a mistress as "a status thing" to get used to (1.15.25).
Her thinking spirals from Elsa-style "Let it go" to Astrid-style "It's all over" (1.15.25).