Just like the Thai jewellery designer’s name suggests, Proud Limpongpan takes great pride in her entire design process – from conception to execution. The Thai designer – who graduated from Harvard Business School – believes in doing well by doing good.
Using only strictly conflict-free traceable gemstones, sustainable precious metals, and working ever so closely with many rural communities in Thailand – from which her fine jewellery brand Cerimani’s craftsmen originate from – Proud is also incredibly ethical.
The Thai designer believes that her passion for jewellery design stems from a deep respect for her craftsmen and artisans, instead of just a blind love for aesthetics. And in the spirit of giving back, not only does Proud imbue those talented individuals with vital craft skills, she has also built vocational jewellery schools and funded various sanitation projects within those communities. Talk about blingage with a conscience, huh.
Here, we chat with Proud and find out what her favourite stones are, and what we should keep a look out for at the festival.
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When did your passion for jewellery first begin?
As a consumer, I always enjoyed buying accessories like jewellery and handbags, but it wasn’t until I started my first job after business school being fully involved in the operations of a global jewellery brand that I began to grow a passion for it. In a sense, you can say that my passion came from a sense of respect for the craftsmen that actually make the beautiful pieces, instead of a love for the aesthetics.
What article of jewellery do you wear everyday? And why’s that? Is there any special significance?
My engagement ring! We got engaged at the beginning of the year! And of course I switch around with rings from my brand Cerimani as well.
What is your favourite stone? And why?
I love rubies, in all its different permutations of red. I believe it is the most valuable member of the precious stones family, the more vivid – the rarer. I think a beautiful ruby cabochon set as a pair of earrings is one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery that you can always appreciate over and over again. Rubies are said to inspire more emotion than any other gemstone.
What is your favourite cut of diamond? And why?
Round. Simple, yet elegant. It is also the cut that exudes the most sparkle. It takes a lot of skill to cut the perfect round diamond.
What kind of precious metal do you like to set your stones with?
Rose gold. Just because other jewellery stores in South East Asia offer a lot of yellow gold, making it a little too common.
Now let’s talk heirlooms, what is the most precious piece of jewellery anyone’s given you?
This pair of diamond earrings my mother gave me when I turned 21. They’re shaped like flowers at the top with raindrops falling from them.
Can you please describe your creative process when designing a new piece of jewellery?
As creative director I provide our designer with a mood board. This mood board stems from two things – Thai heritage designs and a mixture of Western architecture (current collection is Art Deco). I also provide examples of other existing jewellery with explanations of what I like about them and what I don’t like about them. The designer then looks up trends for the upcoming years. The idea is that each collection provides a unique, classic design but also does not shy away from certain design trends in the market.
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What does it mean for jewellery to be sustainable and ethical? And why is that so important today?
All of Cerimani’s pieces are made from sustainably recycled gold and silver, and our gems are sourced from renown sellers who can be tracked as far down the supply chain as possible. We also make sure that our diamonds used comply with the Kimberly Process. It is so important today especially with the consumer mentality of ‘see now, buy now’. We are a generation that has been consuming more than ever before, and a lot of these resources, such as gemstones and diamonds, are constantly in danger of being sourced in an unethical way because of the monetary returns that traders get from the increased demand. The fashion industry is starting to realize that it should not only be about style and design, but about how things are made, and taking up this shared responsibility to positively impact the world that we live in.
What are your favourite pieces from your collection? What should attendees look out for at the festival?
I love them all! If I have to choose, I’d say the Bollé Dream Droplet Gem Earrings and the matching necklace. They come in rose gold set with pink rhodolite or sterling silver set with Swiss blue topaz. This design was created to mark our work with the Karen Hilltribes Trust, which last year helped us provide fresh clean water access and 4 clean lavatories to 140 villagers in the Mae Hong Son Province (in Thailand). I would like attendees to come up to us and ask us about our social impact plans. We’re trying really hard to make a real difference to the lives of the region that has inspired a lot of our designs. Mae Hong Son used to be part of the Lanna Kingdom along with present day Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – it is such a shame that a region that used to flourish with gold and silversmithing is now one of the poorest regions measured on all social economic indicators.
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JeweLuxe Singapore 2018 will take place from 12 to 21 October 2018, at the TENT@Ngee Ann City.
For more information, visit http://jeweluxesingapore.com/