Jewellery has a long-standing cultural and symbolic association with romance, but have you ever given deeper thought to the enduring appeal of your favourite jewellery designs, or thought about why we are so universally captivated by sparkling diamonds and other fine jewels? In true Valentine’s Day spirit, Susannah Jaffer spoke to local jewellery business owners to discover the passion behind their work.
The Jewel Box | Distinctive Bespoke Designs
Founded by husband-and-wife duo Vinod and Sangeeta More in 1994, The Jewel Box specialises in bespoke jewellery services ranging from consultation, customisation, restoration and repair to corporate gifting.
Vinod, a qualified gemologist, studied at the Gemological Institute of America, and is a member of the International Coloured Gemstone Association and Diamond Exchange of Singapore.
His approach, he says, is to combine contemporary elements and classic designs to create distinctive jewellery lines that transcend fads and trends. The team of skilled local and international designers aims to ensure the best standards of in-house craftsmanship using only quality materials.
Seeking to challenge the belief that working with a private jeweller is a luxury reserved only for the elite, he explains, the company has worked hard to build up a strong reputation for good client relationships and understanding customers’ needs through tailored designs and price points.
Vinod places a strong emphasis on this design philosophy: “We base our collections on experiences. Clients come in and tell us about themselves – their stories, experiences and desires – and we always try to project their personality into their jewellery. This emotional connection and attachment makes each customised piece utterly unique.”
They also design their own in-house ranges. Their new Shavings Collection – which has intricate detailing and took eight months to complete – was inspired by the poetic rhythm of pencil shavings falling from a sharpener, and is crafted with sapphires, diamonds and rubies set in 18-carat gold. Also new is the 9-carat gold Stirrup cufflinks range for men, which uses materials such as onyx, lapis lazuli and malachite carved into unusual silhouettes such as animals and mythical creatures.
The Jewel Box, #25-04 Shaw Centre
Amedes | Versatile, Timeless Jewellery
What started off as a hobby for the founder and designer of Amedes Jewelry, Diana Brunner, soon turned into a full-time job due to growing demand for her increasingly popular designs.
Amedes jewellery is crafted from various semi-precious stones including amethyst, jade, pearl, topaz and Swarovski crystal, paired with 14-carat yellow-gold-filled, rose-gold-filled or 925 silver chains sourced from the US. She personally chooses her gems from reputable suppliers in Singapore and Hong Kong. Diana describes her creations as timeless, unique and well made.
When it comes to crafting new collections, she designs with versatility in mind. “I always aim to create quality multi-wear pieces that will suit a number of occasions – from a casual day out, to a dinner date or an evening gala.”
An exciting new project she is currently working on is a new, limited-edition jewellery line with precious stones moulded with 18-carat white or yellow gold.
Stockists: Tezzo & Trioon, #03-26 Mandarin Gallery
Facets | Wholesale Diamond Experts
Headed by managing director, Suresh Hathiramani, loose diamond wholesaler Facets has been a respected leader in the diamond industry for over 30 years, providing fine jewellery design consultation to both retail and manufacturing clients. This year, they launched their “I am brilliant too” bespoke jewellery creation service in collaboration with talented local designers.
It’s common knowledge that, when choosing a diamond, there are certain factors which affect its price tag. These are famously known as the four Cs: colour, cut, clarity and carat. But, would you know which one has the most influence over a diamond’s quality, or what details you should be looking into before investing your money? Suresh lends us his expertise on how to make a smart buy.
1. The bigger and heavier the diamond, the higher the price.
“Size is the first and colour is the second most important factor determining the price of a diamond.” So, the larger the carat number (an expression of weight), the more expensive your diamond is likely to be.
2. If your main attraction to the diamond is its shine, then it’s the cut you need to look into.
“A diamond’s cut – its proportion, number of facets and shape – is the crucial factor that influences the brilliance, or reflected light and shine. It’s the least understood and most difficult to assess, and hence requires considerable judgement to evaluate. This is the one area where I’d recommend getting the advice of a trusted and experienced jeweller. A diamond’s cut has only recently been given the respect it deserves but, as yet, this has the least influence on price.”
3. Be wary of buying diamonds online.
Suresh advises against shopping online. “I’ve always insisted on physically looking at a diamond before buying, hence I have never been a great supporter of online purchasing of diamonds, however good the pedigree of the accompanying grading report or certificate.”
If you’re a budding diamond enthusiast, Facets also offers an educational programme teaching key gemmologist skills such as how to recognise a genuine diamond, identifying different types and choosing the perfect diamond setting. Visit the website for more details.
Facets, #11-05 Far East Shopping Centre
Sara Taseer | Bold, Elegant, Sophisticated
Designer Sara Taseer, whose label carries her own name, says she creates bold jewellery for the multi-faceted modern woman with a keen sense of style, elegance and strength.
Her designs are crafted from 18-carat gold, diamonds and pearls and an array of gemstones, creating one-of-a-kind statement pieces such as edgy cocktail rings, whimsical brooches and classic pearl necklaces, often with a twist.
“I view jewellery as the ultimate embodiment of beauty, and a pure expression of love,” Sara explains. “Each of my pieces is the result of the fusion of the rarest gems and metals crafted into artistic forms that are inspired by the beauty of women and nature. My design philosophy is to create pieces that are beautiful, definitive, and elegant for the modern woman, to complement her identity and accentuate her natural aura and femininity. My commitment is to provide something unique that can be passed down through the generations.”
These timeless designs are handmade in Italy with a high quality of workmanship and painstaking attention to detail.
Sara Taseer, #02-05 Hilton Hotel Shopping Gallery
Sue Ling | Eclectic, Wearable Art
From a career in investment banking, after experimenting with design and metal-smithing in 2009, designer Sue Ling decided to throw caution to the wind and start her own jewellery label. She now specialises in handcrafted, limited-edition jewellery made with precious metals and gems, using techniques that combine contemporary design with artisanal traditions of jewellery-making.
In just three years, her designs have gained international recognition and have appeared on Asian celebrities and fashion runways, and in international films and reality show competitions.
Each piece uses technically novel metal-smithing and gem-setting techniques, while materials are sourced from different corners of the earth: precious gems from Burma; pearls from the South Sea; rare carved fossils and minerals from the Urals; raw gems or geometric precious metal slats from Mozambique – all are fashioned into surprising creations of wearable art.
In her design world, Sue believes that virtually anything can be re-imagined as jewellery. She has translated post-modern architecture into sought-after statement rings; reinvented the curvature of a vintage perfume bottle into arm ornaments; and morphed the form of a snake into eclectic-looking ear hooks. She’s even transformed imagery from some of her favourite childhood movies into custom-made cuff links.
“Designing and making my own art is like reaching into my soul and pulling out a part of myself to give to someone,” she says.
Stockists: The Emporium, #01-71/72 Millenia Walk, Matchbox, #02-20 Orchard Central and Creative Jewellery Studio #02-56/57 Shaw Towers Gallery