Architectural feats in miniscule is what you get when a jeweller collaborates with an architect on a capsule collection of rings. Comprising six designs — each fashioned after an iconic British building from the 11th to the 20th century — the rings are topped with a luscious sugarloaf-cut gem that can be flipped up to reveal an intricate design inspired by the interior if its namesake building. Playful, insightful and gorgeous, the rings were birthed from a mutual respect for architecture and design. Simone Ng of Simone Jewels and Jason Pomeroy of Pomeroy Studio tell us more about the project.
How did this collaboration come about?
Jason Pomeroy: Simone and I have known each other for a few years, having met through a mutual acquaintance at an art event. Realising that we both had in interest in art and architecture we kept in touch and broached the subject of collaborating several times. Having watched my TV show [City Time Traveller on Channel NewsAsia], where I go to different cities to discuss their architectural evolution, we considered the concept of representing different cities in the collection, before finally deciding to theme it around the evolution of British Architecture.
Simone Ng: The idea for the collection came after a visit I made to London; I decided that I wanted to do a British inspired capsule collection. So, I re-hatched this idea with Jason again. I have always known that Jason loves fashion but it wasn’t until a-year-and-a-half ago that I learned he loves jewellery too.
How long did the entire process take — from conception to production?
SN: It took about a year.
JP: But a part of that was thematic discussion. Solid collaboration of the design evolution and production was eight months.
SN: Usually, for such designs, it can take up to 18 months per ring. However, to launch this with my annual collection at beginning March, my production team worked almost 18 hours a day, six days a week just to meet the deadline.
Tell us about the rings.
SN: For me, the rings have many special meanings. First of all, we are sharing a piece of history with everyone and educating them on the various architectural eras of Britain. Then, there’s the rings’ secret compartment — under the central gemstone – that showcases intricate details inspired by an important feature found in the building’s interior. Lastly, there’s the special gemstones that we have selected. It has been very difficult to get high quality unheated coloured gemstones, moreover in a sugarloaf shape. In the end, we made the crazy decision of creating a sugarloaf-cut out of a very high quality faceted gemstone.
JP: I would say that the pieces on first appearance are almost Byzantine in nature, given the very expressive sugarloaf stones that are then richly adorned with gems in the ring shank. But on closer inspection, the rings reveal architectural details that track the history and evolution of British architecture. Then, as Simone says, on an even closer look, a secret compartment is revealed to tell a tale of a particular architectural detail within the building — making each piece truly unique.
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How were the six buildings for the collection selected?
JP: There are so many remarkable heritage and modern structures to pick from in the UK. So I wanted to make sure that we didn’t have a capsule collection that would over run and become diluted. I thought it best to track this evolution through the distinct periods of medieval to high-tech. These buildings would also need to have a particular personal resonance so that it told a story of how it influenced my own personal journey as an architect — be it my first taste of architecture at St Paul’s Cathedral or from graduating through the majestic chapel of Kings College Cambridge.
SN: If I may add here: Jason was not very keen on Pomeroy Castle, initially [laughs]. However, I managed to convince him as this was his ancestral castle and the collection will not have been as meaningful without its inclusion. Thus, we started with Pomeroy Castle as building No. 1.
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So what lessons did the both of you learn in the process?
SN: I strongly believe that coming into any collaboration with the correct mind-set is very important to achieving a successful journey: I came into this project with an open mind to share and learn, and took a bold step in baring both strengths and weaknesses in managing through challenges. Thankfully, with our years of experience in the industry, the process of the collaboration from beginning to end went quite smoothly.
JP: And I re-affirmed that the process of design that I go through is applicable regardless of scale. Whilst I may tend to use steel, glass, concrete, planting and timber as my usual palette of materials, the thought process, and the level of inquisition applied, remains the same — despite the palette of materials morphing into mother-of-pearl, precious stones and pavé diamonds. It was also a window onto a very different world provided by my friend.
By Charmaine Ho