Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A quick peek out

Hullo! :)

Have been rather silent on the blogging as well as facebook front. Even twitter's suffered somewhat (compared to my usual number of tweets a month ago). The reason's because I'm knee deep in what industry people call product development now. It's also my favourite part of doing what I do so I am pretty happy. This period usually comes with a fair amount of anxiety because we test ideas and samples to see if they're worthy to be pushed out for the ready-to-wear collection and also to see if the craftsmen and the lapidary artisans can execute something that's out of the ordinary.

Anyway, while this isn't part of the new line, here's a little snapshot of what I've gotten done in the last few days for some clients. Have been trying to experiment with a different finishings:

And here's another random piece:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another write-up

The media in Singapore has been wonderfully supportive and for that I'm supremely grateful. Here's one that was published today by TODAY. ;) Thanks, Lynette.

Click on the image to read the article.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Write-up in The Business Times (Singapore)

Audrey Poon, a journalist for The Business Times, contacted me recently about featuring the label in a special on sustainable luxury. It was a great honour to be selected, especially so given that I was positioned next to Zegna and Ferragamo. Thank you so much, Audrey! :)

Published June 20, 2009
A silver lining

AS THE saying goes, every cloud - yes, even economic cumulus nimbus - has a silver lining. And for jewellery fans who have been starved of justifiable purchases in the current recession, that lining could take the form of silver jewellery studded with semi-precious gems from Choo Yilin.

Much of the Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery is hand-crafted using fair-trade silver from the Karen hill tribe in Thailand. Ms Choo also works with the tribespeople to design much of her collection.
The fact that the local designer's luxe, pretty pieces are reasonably priced (they range from about $180 for a pair of men's collar stays to $2,120 for an elaborate necklace) is a bonus; what really makes them guilt-free buys is that they are produced with plenty of social and environmental consciousness. Much of the Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery is hand-crafted using fair-trade silver from the Karen hill tribe in Thailand, and while that's not a new concept, what is is that Ms Choo does not merely procure the metal from the community - she actually works with the tribespeople to design much of her collection. It's a win-win situation: the collaboration contributes towards the sustenance of the Karen's centuries-old tradition of silvercraft and provides employment for its people, while the label benefits from the craftsmen's expertise and is able to borrow from their design aesthetic.
The rest of the pieces which are not produced by the Karen are made by freelance Bangkok craftsmen using eco-friendly sterling silver, which is basically recycled silver that has been refined and alloyed to 92.5 per cent. These include a new range of men's collar stays and cufflinks, which Ms Choo introduced just this week.
'I set out to do something socially responsible so I'm growing this label as a social entrepreneur where I can fulfil two to three bottom lines,' says the designer who is based in Bangkok, where her husband works. 'Firstly, I want to be profitable because otherwise a small business like mine cannot be sustained, but I also want to be a social mission of sorts for the hill tribes and at the same time be ecologically sustainable.'
If the whole tribal or tree-hugger thing does not appeal to you though, there's a good chance that the jewellery will. Ms Choo's greatest inspirations come from numerous college holidays spent in Europe, which have translated into rich old-world designs such as a necklace of artisan-hammered mini 'disco balls' intertwined with black spinel faceted rondeles, and cufflinks comprising parcels of organically cut kunzite wrapped in silver bands. Such beautiful jewellery makes adopting a sustainable lifestyle look alluring the way no unbleached organic-cotton T-shirt can, and a good thing too. 'Resources are depleting at an alarming rate and consumerist tendencies are very high. It's in our best interests to live sustainably, otherwise the world as we know it is not going to be here for very long,' says the designer. 'If you don't do it, there will be nothing left in the long run.'
Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery women's designs are available at Colette (#01-15 Forum the Shopping Mall) and online at http://www.cate.com.sg/, while the men's cufflinks and engravable collar stays are available at Rossi (#01-36 Millenia Walk). The designer also has rather spiffily-packaged jewellery cleaning kits for sale on her website, for which all proceeds are donated to other groups of the Karen who do not have the resources to support themselves.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another random bespoke order

One of my dear friends and long-time client, J, has extremely classic taste. She has an array of vintage 18KT yellow gold jewellery that she's made over the last 25 years that I constantly drool over. Sometimes, we pour over them and talk about the possibilities of reworking some old existing pieces and adding on matching pieces to her old stash.

Here's a large cocktail ring we got made to go with a pair of vintage 18KT yellow gold HUGE earring bobs. It's not quite my usual style and the yellow a deep, intense shade that's gone out of vogue since the 90s. It's still gorgeous though and I especially love the textured criss crosses.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery in Affluent

A huge shout out to the editorial team of Affluent.
Thank you so much.
To read the article, please click on the images.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sneak peek at cufflinks

After what seems like a lifetime of planning and conceptualising, I can't believe my eco-friendly sterling silver cufflinks are finally ready! I'll be doing a little write-up on the inspirations for the cufflinks in awhile but for now, here are a series of pictures of some of the pieces.

eco-friendly scrolls with a tiny white sapphire embedded; gilded in black rhodium.

curved ovals with a tiny pink spinel; gilded in 18KT rose and yellow gold.

organic faceted kunzite chunks hugged in sterling silver strips

textured fine silver rectangles with swiss blue topazes embedded.

sterling silver circles with a tiny champagne diamond set asymmetrically. gilded in 18KT rose gold and black rhodium

sterling silver teardrops with a little tanzanite embedded in one of the pieces. gilded in black rhodium.

curved, brushed squares with a tiny blue sapphired embedded; gilded in black rhodium.

textured squares with a tiny champagne diamond; gilded in 18KT yellow gold and black rhodium.

patterned marquises with four gemstones - a ruby, pink spinel, blue sapphire and tanzanite; gilded in black rhodium.

As you can see, they're all heavily textured and organic as with most of my other designs. All cuff-links are engravable with initials on the base of the latch. All harks back to old-school European luxury of artisanal craftmanship and bespoke services.

Also available in 18KT gold. Please enquire privately for price.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Luxe collar stays

I’ve fallen madly in love with these. The idea of having two luxurious thick strips of brushed silver and tiny sapphires tucked into someone special’s collar, along with personalised messages of love or congratulations and the recipient’s name just evokes images of a special type of intimacy. The personalised messages are akin to a secret code that only both of you are privy to and are a daily reminder of the giver when the recipient puts them on.

Okay that’s me just romanticising it as I’m wont to do for everything that I love. They generally make great gifts, even for acquaintances (or yourself). Definitely harking back to old-world European luxury, where monogrammable items were the norm, and almost all accessories were made in precious metals of silver and gold, this pair of collar stays offers you a slice of that world.

Functionally, the malleability of the sterling silver allows you to bend them as you wish, in the process controlling the angle of the collars for different type of shirts. This is something unique to sterling silver as other metals (or heaven forbid, plastic) don’t have the same malleability that sterling silver has.

These weigh a luxurious 12 grams and are made in eco-friendly sterling silver. They aren’t cut out of a sheet like some flat items are; rather, it was created through the method of lost-wax casting and then filed down and polished and set by hand. Also available in eco-friendly, reclaimed 18KT gold and diamonds. Please enquire privately about the price.