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Custom Jewellery Singapore, Clover and Duality

There are many nice bracelets around.

There are lesser bangles of such niceness. Just the word bangle is a fragment of ageism. Kidding.

Of course we are making a bangle.

early thoughts on working with uncut jade

Early thoughts on working with what is a very lush but very stony rim of jade. You cannot tell from the picture but this is not a jade bangle that we cut from. The original jade piece has an impossible small rim (an impossibly thick bangle for a child’s hand maybe). Such jade has always been cut and polished, ready to be turned into a distinct piece of jewellery.


Constructing a clasp in a simple but harmonious way. Each “tooth” is hand cut and soldered…


… they may not be perfectly calibrated to size, but every “tooth” is robust and slides into the space created for it. The sum of its parts form the hinge. It’s pretty much like building a tiny house, except it’s really the house that comes together with every log in place and no nails! Doing this part using a mold produces very different results. If one part is not met to expectations the little jobs down the line would have to be sacrificed. Working intuitively to your materials is likely to save redoing steps, or allow corrective steps just for that little part.


It is only when the “house” is completed that we can properly decide on the measurement of each jade piece. Even then, these jade splices will not fit perfectly but would have to be polished into contours, when fitting and refitting. The truth is, two solid materials like jade and gold will never just “fuse” together as if one. A new house for the jade pieces.


Decorative elements will be set at this stage. We constructed a small bolt, and only then we decided that the bolt should have a ruby! Many times we find that working intuitively will hone your abilities to decide what are these ‘decorative elements’ and the important questions of ‘how much’ and ‘when to stop’. Our aesthetic has always been, less is more, in the wake of one thing leading to another. In fact, it is only much, much later, that we responded to the cuff’s “clover” cross-section by creating ruby bezels as focus points to disperse its green and gold palette.

 

jade ruby bangle

Only when the gold frame is fitted with the jade splices that we can feel the cuff’s proper form. The bangle is actually shapely, its “clover” outline we knew could only ‘appear’ at this stage. We designed for this, but since lapidary (splicing the jade) and goldwork are two separate job stages, we cannot insist on this to the millimetre at visualising (or planning) stage. Our plan was to fit and cut, and fit and cut, until we achieve the “clover” cross-section. Why?

 

SIJS Jade Clover Cuff Bangle

Jade bangles are mostly designed to be perfectly round. The conventional way is two splices with one hinge – practical – since tradition does not usually objectify jewellery. Our modern eye has evolved to love the idea of form, and sometimes to consider form over function! For this love of artistry, we designed for a three-pieced jade joined by THREE hinges with one opening. It is quite surreal how one design decision greatly alters the ‘kind of thing’ our eyes perceive. The cuff can now be objectified like an ornament, displayed on its own…

 

SIJS Jade Clover Cuff Bangle

…or worn gracefully. My hand is actually too small for this cuff, which is customised for a wrist slightly wider. When fitted on the right hand…

 

SIJS Jade Clover Cuff Bangle

… its size is not as imposing as suggested by up-close photos. A shot of the cuff from a distance, presence comfortable in its own skin.


early thoughts on "duality" of the earrings

My notes on design always begin simple. But what I call “brevity” may be enough for some and unclear for others. I enjoy the process of creation to be as fuss-free as possible. Unbridled is risky (unmatched expectations?!), but it is risk that always makes memory.

The challenge of the earring was (apart from hand cutting and soldering the tiny hinge components) how to secure it so that it can be worn two ways. This part is classified 🙂

 

This even-smaller-house-for-smaller-stones part is when we FEEL for how ‘clumsy’ a pair of high fashion earrings can be before they are not high fashion! The thing about original design in making statement pieces is you actually have to decide the look you want to take after, even where your design is 100% original, or risk becoming a little of this or that. Although modularity is not uncommon in earrings or jewellery, we wanted to achieve a lot (of sass) in something so small (cannot be too loud/heavy or it will get little wear). It is easy to become ‘heavy-handed’ when you get too caught up in making ‘couture’, a reminder that kept surfacing along our process.

 

SIJS Jade Ruby Duality Earrings

These rubies are unheated ‘sugarloaf’ cabochons, a rare cut that we see most in historical or heirloom jewellery. The sugarloaf, while distinct, is not easy to design for without losing its distinction in small jewellery pieces. Interestingly, it is only at a much later final stage that we realised of course we have to cut the jade into matched sugarloaf cabochons. The implicit reckoning of shapes work to make this pair of Duality earrings larger than life, precious.


SIJS Jade Ruby Duality Earrings

When I look at these earrings now, I seem to have seen them before. Beyond its ‘duality’, I’m sure there is a philosophy for this.

 

SIJS Jade Ruby Duality Earrings

Ways of wearing, the angles of duality.

 

SIJS Jade Clover Cuff Bangle, SIJS Jade Ruby Duality Earrings

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

 

Jade and Ruby

I never ventured very far from an imagining of our colonial past when making this cuff and earring pair. Not so much the hardships of our colonial roots, but the sepia realisation of what happens when East meets West (oh I hate this cliché) – levelled to a plane of fashion, history and our unconscious cultural learning of the two.

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