What to look out for at the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair at Marina Bay Sands
With not one but two luxury jewellery events happening this month, jewellery collectors and aficionados are certainly in for a treat. After the 10-day-long Jeweluxe festival at Ngee Ann City, we have the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair taking place at Marina Bay Sands. Known as ASEAN's premier marketplace for fine jewellery, diamonds and gemstones, the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2018 will see over 200 exhibitors displaying more than 150,000 unique creations ranging from fine to high jewellery and everything in between.
Singapore based jewellers have not been left out of course and apart from such familiar names as Caratell, Vihari, and Sara Taseer Jewellery, as well as old-timers in the gold jewellery industry like On Cheong and Ho Bee, the fair has also saved some of the limelight for new players. One of these brands that we're especially excited about is home-grown atelier, An Order Of Bling.
Founded by owner Sara Sze Tan just under five years ago, An Order Of Bling stands apart from other local jewellery brands for its sheer audacity in design. The pieces have a certain je ne sais quoi which could only be attributed to Tan's quirky personality. And that works splendidly with her growing clientele.
Says Tan, "I find that more and more jewellery buyers today want wearable pieces of art that make a statement and express their personality. So setting off from that point, what I do is just try and push the boundaries."
As a small atelier, An Order Of Bling regularly creates customised jewellery pieces which Tan designs personally. She works with an external jewellery craftsman to whom she constantly gives credit for the success of her creations.
Tan, who had established a fine career in the arts world before stepping out to become a stay-home mom for a few years, relates the story of one of the most memorable engagement rings she has ever designed: "My client was a huge Harry Potter fan. We hit upon the idea of using the Golden Snitch as inspiration. So I designed a ring that has wings which can open and close. It was really fun to design."
She continues, "Initially they were happy to just have wing motifs engraved on the ring but I thought that these wings should be able to fly. So I pushed my craftsman to do it for me. We placed little springs at the base of the wings so they can be lifted as and when the wearer wishes."
Other than customised jewellery pieces, Tan has also recently begun designing for herself, creating pieces that express her vision of jewellery. She particularly appreciates the element of oral history in a jewellery piece, which is why everything she creates has a symbolic meaning attached.
"I always imagine my jewellery to be passed down to the next generation and there should be the oral history that comes with them. I also like them to have a little twist somehow," she explains.
Tan's latest collection is called Writing With Diamonds, and it is literally based on her own handwriting. Imagine wearing a necklace or a ring that has your mother's or grandmother's exact handwriting – isn't that such an amazing story? "I believe that everybody has a word or phrase that means something special. Or a loved one could write you a message," she adds.
Another piece that's really close to Tan's heart is an obsidian Buddha ring that may not be awfully practical to wear but would definitely put a smile on your face, especially when it's placed on the table. Wearing a set of oversized headphones and his signature grin, this Laughing Buddha seems to be rocking to the music thanks to his rotund little bottom.
She also drew inspiration from her heritage. "I made the propeller ring as a tribute to my grandfather who was orphaned at age 7 in Hainan island, and then became a sailor before making his way to Singapore. His backstory is simply amazing," Tan shares. The ring is designed with a spring-loaded joint that you can pull back and release so the propeller keeps on spinning.
At the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair, Tan will join a panel consisting of industry veterans and up-and-coming designers to discuss the evolution and challenges facing jewellers and the industry.
The Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair 2018 takes place from 26th to 29th October at the Marina Bay Sands.