Simone Jewels may just be the most prestigious and best kept secret in town. In a world where white diamonds are dime a dozen, founder and certified gemologist Simone Ng sees the untold beauty of rare coloured gemstones. And, no two pieces are alike, branding every piece created a one-of-a-kind heirloom.
Despite Simone’s many awards — named one of Singapore’s Top 10 Designers for three consecutive years since 2015, and the Luxury Jewelry Brand award in 2016 — Simone Jewels remains modest, but not without a game plan.
“When I decided not open a retail store, my competitors shook their heads,” she reveals. In a move that would either make her business sink or swim, Simone says it has given her brand and her clientele an advantage. “I find that when you create just one piece for every design, it’s very important to ensure that the piece is comfortable to wear. There are some great pieces from other brands that are simply stunning, but you find that when you put them on, the proportions are all wrong. Without having to worry about retail stores, we’re able to focus on our relationship with clients and providing the utmost quality for each piece, right down to the tiniest of diamonds.”
An ode to poetry from the classical era, her 2018 collection titled ‘Birds in Poetry’ is unimaginably impressive. The collection is divided into three chapters highlighting different coloured gemstones, and illustrates Enduring Love, Romantic Hope and Purity in Joy. Birds in Poetry will unveil more than a hundred one-in-the-world pieces worth at least MYR$10 million on display. Prestige was honoured to get a first-hand look at the collection, and sat down with Simone to talk about Birds of Poetry, entrepreneurship, and her creative process.
Can you tell us about history as the inspiration behind your designs?
I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and history in particular because it made us who we are today. That leads to our tagline, which is “Yesterday’s tales. Today’s creation. Tomorrow’s inspiration.” The reason why I do different themes every year is because there’s also something for me to learn. I get very excited when I research into something.
This year, the history is in sharing the works of classical era poets. All three chapters of the collection use birds as an analogy to express love, hope and joy. Poetry became of the carrier of that message. People can learn about the colours that represent different emotions — red for love, blue for hope and green for joy. I also hope to educate people on the variety of rare gemstones from coloured diamonds to Paraiba blue Tourmaline.
Any advice for creative entrepreneurs and budding jewellery designers?
I mentor students at the Raffles Design Institute in Singapore and the first thing I ask my students is why they want to be jewellery designers. Some will say they want something under their name, but what happens if someone famous wants to hire you to design for their brand? The answer I’m looking for is passion. In order to ensure that you’ll be able to survive through the good and bad times you need to be passionate about designing jewellery. Persistency and consistency are very important.
People sometimes assume money and fame come with designing but that’s far from true. For me, it’s incredibly rewarding when I see the look of happiness on my customers faces when they wear my designs, or when they talk about passing their Simone Jewels on as an heirloom to their children. That kind of sentimental value attached to a piece cannot be replaced.
Although one-of-a-kind, could any piece be duplicated if requested?
If someone is coveting a piece that’s already been purchased, we ask them what they love about it — it could be the colour, the shape, or even the technique used to create it. We can design something new with the aspects they are intrigued with the most. But when it comes to the gemstones, no two pieces are alike and we can’t recreate gemstones either.
I have two customers who are identical twins and they have always had the same taste in design. When I met them it was a challenge because they wanted identical pieces but after getting to know them I realised that they do have some slight differences in their taste. Through that consultation we were able to design two pieces of the same design with variations.
Where are the pieces made?
I have different craftsmen from around the world; Italy, Thailand, Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. Each of them specialise in different techniques and as I create one-of-a-kind pieces, I have certain parts made in different countries and assemble each piece in Hong Kong. This way, no one-person can duplicate my jewellery. That’s how I protect my designs.
In your experience with customers, how would you describe the Malaysian market?
When it comes to jewellery, Malaysian women are very adventurous. They’re open to new ideas. We’ve been coming to Malaysia and showcasing twice a year for about two years already, and I have to say Malaysian women are very open to learning about new gemstones in jewellery. In that sense, they aren’t afraid of taking risks.
How can one purchase a piece from Simone Jewels?
My office is based in Singapore where I meet my customers who are either residing in Singapore or merely visiting from other parts of the world. However, we will be opening an office in Kuala Lumpur eventually. Through the years, Malaysia has been one of our top markets and I thought to myself, it’s time to come home. I’m still Malaysian and I think home is where I would retire in as well.
We also have a design-your-own-jewellery in the pipeline, which will be online based. The price point for that line will be much more accessible and should be launched some time next year.