If there was an equivalent of Fashion Week in jewellery, it would be in July. This is when maisons typically launch their high-end collections, and the press and VIP customers descend on the centre of this world – Paris’ Place Vendome, home to brands such as Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels – to view and buy them.
Singapore is timezones away, but since last year, a local collective has been quietly offering an experience that almost as close: a one-stop shop for couture-standard precious jewellery from various names. The difference: It operates year-round; the pieces are bespoke; and all the designers are independent and based here.
Dubbed I Am Brilliant, Too, it’s the brainchild of two industry veterans – diamond wholesaler Facets Singapore and pearl specialist Golay, both of which have been around since the ’80s. The whole idea is to support local. (Go #SG50!)
Suresh Hathiramani, director of Facets, says: “We have a lot of potential and great local talent, but not enough platforms for fine jewellery designers. One of our main goals is to promote home-grown talent and give them global exposure. We aim to position Singapore as the new centre for high-end jewellery design in Asia.”
To start, six names were curated, though the posse can grow – interested parties can apply online (www.iambrillianttoo.com) to join if they meet a set of criteria including industry experience and gemology skills. The folks in the present and original stable range from Phyllis Ng, formerly of Flower Diamond, and Kim T – local jewellers favoured by the society set; to the gothic-influenced Karen Chan, who has her own label Drake & Barnett. Each has at least a decade’s worth of experience, and continues to run his or her own fine jewellery brand.
Which brings us to why I Am Brilliant, Too is pretty, well, brilliant. First, it gives customers access to a mix of under-the-radar yet industry-approved talents, each with their own unique aesthetic (read: Everything’s legit – often a worry when dealing with independent jewellers).
Second, it lets the designers interpret this personal style in the most exquisite way possible – thanks to the platform, they get a wider pool of precious materials than they do at their own brands. The pearls come exclusively from Golay; the diamonds, Facets. The two companies don’t take a cut, but the cost of these raw materials is factored into the final retail price, which starts from $8,000.
To start the consultation process, clients can make an appointment with their choice of designer on the collective’s website. Throw in more consultations and the craft work – all hand-done locally – and it takes between four and 12 weeks to receive the finished product, depending on its complexity.
So far, there have been two completed commissions – drop earrings made of diamonds and conch shells, and a brooch with fossilised shell, both by Ng – with more in the works. But as Chan reminds us, things are haute here: “People come to I Am Brilliant, Too for masterpieces – made of the finest gems, complexities, and superb workmanship. Nothing less.”
This story first appeared in the July issue of Female magazine.
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