Ong Chin Huat has a tête-à-tête with jewellery designer Simone Ng, the founder of Simone Jewels and discovers the beauty and glamour of one-of-a-kind wearable works of art
Simone Jewels have earned themselves a reputation among jewellery cognoscenti in Singapore and around the world for her unique and theme-based collections. Known for their eye-catching designs, some based on historical events and culture, the talent behind Simone Jewels is Malaysian born and Singapore-based Simone Ng who grew up around jewellery and fine craftsmanship as her grandmother was a goldsmith and grandfather was a craftsman who excelled in making fine mother-of-pearl furniture for wealthy families.
Using exotic gemstones like geodes and moss agate alongside diamonds and rubies, every piece is handmade by the best craftsman in the region and can be transformed to be worn in several ways.
LM. Tell us how you became a jewellery designer?
SN. I have always been artistic and creative as a child and found myself sketching and doodling in all my spare time. I was involved in many types of arts including stitching my own outfits before I started creating jewellery for myself. It started with compliments and eventually orders from friends and family, that’s when Simone Jewels was established in 2006. Becoming a jewellery designer was never forced, it just came naturally. The natural understanding of jewellery design and fashion accompanied with professional training in coloured gemstones, jade and illustration, made the journey a very smooth one and I am very thankful for that.
LM. Where did you interest in gems and jewellery come from?
SN. My interest in gems and jewellery sparked from a young age and I think a lot has to do with the genes. My paternal grandfather was a craftsman and goldsmith that made gemstone studded mother-of-pearl tables for wealthy individuals and my maternal grandmother was a private jeweller. My mother also was very fond of jewellery design and her interest took me to various jewellery stores and exhibitions from a young age and that where it all started.
LM. Tell us about how the design or creative process starts for you – is it from a gemstone which you are attracted to and then you design around it or do you do a design first and hunt around for the stones to fit in?
SN. It goes both ways. Sometimes I come across a beautiful stone that I just can’t stop thinking about. The beauty of the stone inspires me to create a design that makes the stone the centre of attention. At Simone Jewels, we believe in making masterpieces, which means even the most exquisite gems are set in beautiful and artistic settings so the entire piece becomes a work of art. Designs, on the other hand, can get inspired anytime, anywhere, even while sleeping! I try to sketch them down as quickly as I can and look for the gemstones I have envisioned to be part of the one-of-a-kind piece.
LM. Tell us about your thematic collections – how did the Secrets of Ancient Persia or Birds of Paradise ideas come from?
SN. At the start of every year, we do great research into historical events, architecture and cultures from which we draw inspirations of fascinating stories, pictures, art, facts and create a thematic collection for the year. Past collections include Cleopatra treasures, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Jewels of the Nile etc. Secrets of Ancient Persia was inspired from the mysteries of the One thousand and One tales where magical tales of the Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba became famous.
Birds are very close to the heart of Simone Jewels and over the years, we have created the most beautiful paradise of birds that includes black-capped kingfishers, swans and even phoenixes so the world can cherish and admire the gift they are to nature.
LM. How many collections of pieces do you make a year?
SN. Every year there is a new thematic collection for which we create 100 over one-of-a-kind individual works of art.
LM. Have you got a favourite gemstone? What is it?
SN. I have many favourite gemstones because my skin tone allows me to carry the colours of both the warm and cool tones. As someone that believes in individualism, I get very excited with the stones that are very rare and hard to come by, like the colour change gems, Paraiba tourmalines, Ruby red spinels, Red garnets, Padparadscha and pink diamonds, to name a few.
LM. Do you like designing rings, necklaces, brooches or earrings best?
SN. I do enjoy designing all of them, depending on what my inspiration is. I personally wear a lot more earrings and rings, so I tend to design more of them.
LM. Is your jewellery best worn in the day or the night?
SN. They are best worn in the day and night. Each piece is engineered so it can detach and be worn in many different ways to create endless combinations. For example, a gala necklace can actually be worn in up to four different ways in which two can be worn casually, one can be considered semi-formal and one can be worn at grand gala occasions.
LM. Do you think jewellery should follow trends like fashion or do you think they should be classic and transcend fashion and trends?
SN. Our jewellery sets fashion trends but is carefully designed to be timeless fashion that can be worn through many generations. It’s important for me that my customers look as fashionable and trendy as possible and yet be able to wear it at any point in their life and even pass it to the next generation that they will treasure and adore as well. Wearable art is also a very special category of its own and becomes more valuable as time goes by like many other one-of-a-kind collector pieces.
LM. What’s the most reassured piece of jewellery you own and why do you treasure it so much?
SN. I love all the pieces that I own and I enjoy wearing them so much because they all interchangeable and can be worn in so many different combinations. Each look is so different that I feel like I am wearing a brand new piece of jewellery each time!
By Ong Chin Huat
Simone Jewels – Where and how
Tel: +65 8568 3992