Inspired Designs, Innovative Minds

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Up-and-coming jewellery designers are injecting inventive ideas in modern jewellery collections, setting in motion new creative directions that they say are here to stay.

A new breed of young jewellers is bringing fresh and innovative design ideas to the fore, inspired by the ever-evolving needs of consumers. Easy-to-wear ear hooks adorned with summery coloured gemstones, multifunctional aromatic jewellery as well as rings and necklaces in geometric designs are only some of the ultra-modern pieces that are making waves in the industry today. JNA peeks into the creative worlds of three rising jewellery artists who talk about their unique design philosophy and vision.

Affordable Luxury

Coming from a family of jewellers and being exposed to the business early on, Yukki Hui is forging her own path as a designer and entrepreneur. She established her jewellery brand, Ikku London, in 2020 to provide consumers with a reasonably priced fine jewellery line of contemporary designs – something that she said was lacking in the market.

“I have been around the world, in the US and Italy, among others, going to jewellery exhibitions with my parents and I realised that Asia has a different jewellery culture,” revealed Hui. “Women would wait until they get married to buy diamonds. It should not be like that.”

By comparison, Western buyers are more inclined to “self-gifting” and would purchase diamonds to treat themselves. Another important element that seems to be missing in Asia are affordable fine jewellery collections.

Determined to provide precious metal jewellery that will not break the bank, Hui founded her brand, which offers 18-karat gold jewellery adorned with a combination of diamonds, coloured gemstones and cultured pearls for younger buyers.

One of her signature creations is the Rainbow Collection featuring necklaces, unique chain rings and ear hooks embellished with fancy sapphires, tourmalines, garnets, citrines and amethysts, to name a few. Colourful and whimsical, the pieces are meant to evoke joy and contentment, especially during these trying times. Baroque pearls also figure a lot in Hui’s designs, thanks to their inherent exceptionality.

The designer also takes creative cues from her cultural upbringing, having lived in the UK most of her life. With a strong jewellery background, coupled with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion from London College of Fashion and a Master's degree in Luxury Management from Birmingham City University, Hui is on a quest to bring about change in today’s jewellery circles.“

I want people to own quality yet affordable jewellery pieces. Our packaging is also 100 per cent recyclable, so there is also a sustainability element to our business,” she noted.

Moving forward, Hui is conceptualising a collection of higher-end, more expensive pieces to diversify her product portfolio. “I am working on bigger jewellery pieces because what I have now are more for daily use. I want something with more complex designs so I can expand my market reach,” shared Hui.

Scent of a Jewellery

Capitalising on consumers’ need to feel good during a pandemic as well as their fundamental desire to express themselves aesthetically, designer Rosemary Chung created a new jewellery line that combines imagination and aromatherapy.

Sold under her newly established brand, Tantra Jewellery, the jewellery pieces are multifunctional, affordable and trendy.

According to Chung, she took inspiration from magnetic button diffusers for face masks that are popular now. She however gave the mini diffusers an artistic twist. “It is a nice idea but I found it a bit boring, especially if it only serves one purpose,” remarked Chung. “I want something more playful, fun and functional. As a designer, I always think of ways to offer something new to the market.”

The Art Deco-inspired diffusers in silver or 18-karat gold-plated silver can be used as a pendant or bracelet. Buyers can also choose pieces accentuated with a wide array of coloured gemstones such as pink opal, garnet, moonstone, yellow quartz and amethyst, to name a few.“

I launched Tantra Jewellery to reach out to more customers. Times are more stressful now and I want to offer products that are relaxing and fun at the same time,” she said. “I combined many elements in my designs because jewellery does not have to be just jewellery; it can be something useful.”

Chung’s fine jewellery brand, Rosemary Chung Haute Joaillerie, meanwhile caters to a different clientele that favours custom-made, higher-quality jewellery. One of her star creations is a colour-change sapphire ring that opens in the shoulder to reveal a hidden ruby ring within the shank.She came up with the design after one of her clients requested for a one-of-a-kind gift for his wife. He promised her a ruby ring but felt that sapphire suited her best. Chung thought of a creative way to make both things happen.“

It looks like a normal ring, but it has a little secret inside – the ruby ring, so he can say he did not break his promise. It is such a romantic surprise,” explained the designer. “I am always inspired by what my customer wants. They tell me their stories and I translate those into jewellery designs.”

Geometry and jewellery

Nesta Man’s jewellery designs are easily discernible – they stand out in form and style while exuding a modern, versatile vibe. As a designer, Man adheres to the two core principles of minimalism and exceptionality.“

It has to look different – that is a keyword in my design philosophy. I always go for a combination of simple and distinctive when I design a jewellery piece,” the designer revealed. “Everyone has his or her own story and preference for jewellery. I create pieces based on that notion.”

Man’s journey as a jewellery designer began in 2006 when he took a job as a clerk in a jewellery company despite his educational background in product design. Back then, he would work overtime and submit designs to his manager in the hopes of jumpstarting his career. His efforts paid off: A customer liked his work, and he was given more creative tasks. In 2016, he moved to Neva Ltd where he is now a senior designer.

He describes his jewellery as contemporary, with design inspirations from fashion events where he learns about colour trends, and popular culture like music and movies as well as international news. For instance, Man came out with the Hope and Faith Collection of colourful jewellery pieces at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

He designs both gold and silver jewellery using an eclectic range of materials such as coloured gemstones, ceramic, cubic zirconia, glass and coloured cord. Over the last two years, purple, pinkish and green amethyst have risen in popularity, so these are evident in most of his works.

According to Man, today’s buyers have become more focused on emotional satisfaction. As such, they are on the lookout for jewellery pieces that resonate with their values or express a message. This, in turn, translates to jewellery pieces with more do-it-yourself or transformable elements.

“I expect the modern customer to look for something that represents hope and happiness, so more colourful, light and easy-to-wear jewellery will be in demand. That is why we find more karat-gold jewellery with enamel or coloured cord,” he remarked. “Icons of protection and good luck like the evil eye are also likely to appear in jewellery designs in the coming season.”

Source: JNA. This story originally appeared on JewelleryNet. Click here for more industry updates.

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