Just like our taste in food, our jewellery choices are uniquely personal, yet can change with time. We asked women from different backgrounds to tell us about the labels that they still return to, and why.
“I was a hairstylist for thirty years before moving to Singapore,” says Cindy, as she greets me at her Balinese-inspired Bukit Timah home. Despite having given up her career to move with her husband, son and daughter to Asia two years ago, she has no regrets. “Ultimately, I did it for our family,” she says.
Now, with more time on her hands, she’s enjoying experiencing the myriad cultures from the region and travelling with friends, and has developed a particular passion for visiting buzzing local markets.
With her eclectic style and bubbly personality, it’s no wonder Cindy is drawn to the semi-precious stone designs. “I love the versatility of Stones that Rock jewellery. The label always has something to suit every outfit and mood, and that keeps me coming back,” she says.
Cindy lays out her impressive collection and I can see it includes a bit of everything, from freshwater pearl baroque necklaces and bracelets in various colours to shimmering crystal lariats that can be worn multiple ways. “Jewellery is always a necessary final touch to my outfit. I either like to layer, or I’ll simply wear one chunky piece.”
Her favourite design, and the one that catches my eye too, is a rose quartz necklace complete with a beautiful white jade pendant, carved into the shape of a Chinese symbol signifying long life. “Every time I wear this necklace I get so many compliments,” she says.
Sheralyn Tay, PC Ng and Jassica Lee
Business partners by chance and friends by choice, PC, Jassica and Sheralyn are the founders of Tria The Label, a local fashion label offering quality dresses and separates that can take you from work to play.
The ambitious trio have also become big fans of custom jewellery, an interest sparked by discovering private bespoke jeweller Madly Gems. PC was the first to create a morganite gemstone ring with the company, and Jassica and Sheralyn followed suit after falling in love with the eye-catching design. “We were really impressed by the quality, so thought we’d book an appointment at their showroom to see some designs in person,” says Jassica.
During their appointments, they thoroughly enjoyed learning more about gemstones and the customisation process. “The team at Madly Gems are very patient with you when talking through your choice of stone, and their priority is helping you to find something that suits both your budget and personal style,” says Sheralyn. “I’ve found it so fascinating finding out more about gemstones in general, from why they are priced differently to how they are sourced. Some are even rarer than diamonds. It’s a real education!”
Above all, the three agree that customising their jewellery from scratch has endowed each design they’ve created with unique sentimental value. “Each piece tells a story. That’s what makes them extra special,” says PC.
“For me, jewellery is about self-expression,” says Singaporean homemaker Vanitha when we meet. “Going with that sentiment, I like it, I buy it, I wear it.” Clearly a woman who knows what she wants.
When it comes to design, her favourite pieces blend both contemporary and traditional elements. It becomes clear, then, why she has collected so many pieces from Manjrie, a fine jewellery label which specialises in hand-crafted and one-of-a kind creations made from polki (uncut) diamonds and precious gems set in gold.
“I’m drawn to pieces by Manjrie because they are casual and fun but at the same time make a statement. I think that suits my personality!” she laughs.
Vanitha, whose passions include women’s education, animal rights and the environment, also likes being engaged with the design process. “The designer Manjrie Gupta and I have spent many hours discussing designs, and her advice when it comes to picking out the right piece is always invaluable,” she says. “She’s really able to understand each client, and in turn create a piece that is truly personalised to your taste.”
An entrepreneur with a busy family life, Louise likes to keep things simple and straightforward. When it comes to accessorising, that means wearing classic, timeless designs that can be easily styled and worn in multiple ways.
She was first drawn to Maarz Pearls, a jewellery label founded by Maryam Haroon, after discovering the brand while browsing Instagram. “I wasn’t much of an accessory person at the time, but the cool silhouettes of the pieces caught my eye. I loved the brand’s refreshing take on crafting with pearls, which still echo a South Asian influence,” she says.
The label’s designs combine lustrous freshwater pearls with semi-precious stones, silver and gold. Each piece is designed in Singapore, and then handmade by skilled craftsmen in China, Pakistan and Cambodia.
Louise wears a couple of her favourite pieces at our meeting, including a pair of magnificent drop earrings and a matching pendant necklace, replete with pearls of varying sizes and set in 18-carat gold. “They make such a statement and instantly dress up anything in my wardrobe, so the hard work is done for me!” she laughs.
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