If the thought of secret slots and hidden mechanisms gets you all excited, the jewellery at Simone Jewels—from stylish rings with hidden compartments that house miniature buildings to gorgeous gemstone-clad pendants with tiny music boxes that actually play melodic tunes—will have you in a tizzy.
As if that’s not enough, the brand’s founder and Executive Creative Director Simone Ng also goes to great lengths to ensure that each masterpiece is the only one of its kind—which makes you, and only you, the singular owner of a truly precious stunner.
“Our customers know that each of our designs is limited to one piece only. That’s something we have kept true for the past 15 years,” says the award-winning jewellery designer and certified gemologist who launched her flagship brand in 2006 as a one-woman-show. Today, the label has expanded to include a team of nine.
“Because the pieces we create are one-piece-only, I tend to push our team to the limit,” she shares. “‘Is that it, is that it?’ That’s the question I ask constantly. I’ve always been very inquisitive even as a child; I like to see what people wear and think about how I can do it better, how to style it better. [So I think] we can always do more to make each piece more special.”
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Strong recognition all around
Ng’s finesse at crafting exquisite, multi-dimensional pieces is what keeps discerning connoisseurs flocking back to her for fascinating creations featuring rare and precious gems alongside stunning designs.
Her breathtaking work has not gone unnoticed by the industry either. Ng has made a name for herself as one of Singapore’s Top 10 Jewellery Designers for six consecutive years since 2015 and was one of the top three chosen to receive the “Luxury Jewellery Brand” award in 2016. In 2019, she was one of 12 women who bagged the Women Entrepreneur Awards, in recognition of outstanding female entrepreneurs in Asia.
On what sparked her jewellery journey, Ng, whose grandparents on both sides are in the jewellery business, shares: “I was exposed to jewellery from a very young age and gained an understanding of the various types of gemstones [very early on]. Along the way, I started designing for myself and people started asking if I could design for them!”
That made Ng realise that something was missing out there in the market: One-piece-only jewellery that is truly one of a kind. “After all, I didn’t want to wear something that somebody else has!” she quips with a chuckle, adding that she also “wanted every stone that goes into my jewellery to be of top quality.”
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Breaking into the global market
Simone Jewels’s fame has already gone beyond local circles. The brand has been steadily gaining international recognition—with the latest feather in its cap being a coveted showcase at London’s prestigious department store Harrods in October 2020. “We went into the UK market last year and our first retail presence at Harrods London was a big score,” Ng says proudly, on being the first Singapore-based jewellery brand to call that particular achievement.
Ng’s other international feats include a 2017 collaboration with renowned British architect and City Time Traveller host Jason Pomeroy, which resulted in a prized capsule collection that sold out even before its preview. Aptly named the “Jewels of Architecture”, the collection featured six bejewelled rings that track the evolution of British architecture from the 11th to the 20th century, spanning the Gothic, Baroque and Modern Contemporary eras. Each ring, says Ng, features “the most exclusive and highest-quality sugarloaf-coloured gemstones”, but the twist lies in the secret compartment within. “We thought, ‘What would we put inside the secret compartment?’ The interior of each building in miniature form!” she declares, as if transposing the façade of buildings onto the tiny surface of a ring is simply the most logical thing in the world to do.
“Making it in miniature form is extremely difficult,” acknowledges Ng. “But we didn’t want [customers] to use a microscope or a magnifying glass [in order] to see [the details]. We wanted [customers] to be able to see it with the naked eye.”
Designs with historical backstories
Quality gems and aesthetics aside, what sets Ng’s jewellery apart from the rest in the luxury market is, perhaps, the fact that each creation brings to life a piece of history. “I personally love history and I share [that] through my designs,” says Ng. A prime example is the “Bombshell” collection, which she reveals was “inspired by [an actress], who [helped invent] Wi-Fi”. For those not in the know, the legendary 1940s actress was the mind behind the signal-hopping technology that paved the way for the secure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technologies of today.
One of the inspirations for the creation of said technology was music and Ng decided to incorporate that into some of the designs in the collection, which celebrates Lamarr’s ingenuity and strength of spirit in three parts: “A Star is Born”, “Hidden Gem” and “Music”. Take, for instance, the Chopin Nocturne Music Box Necklace. Because Lamarr liked opera, Ng went with the concept of a music box pendant fitted with a miniature movement that plays out one of Chopin’s Nocturnes. “The music box is quite small,” she says, “so the sound is very soft, but you can hear the music when you wind it up.” Fine jewellery doesn’t get more whimsical than this.
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The constantly turning wheels of creativity
In more than 15 years of business, Simone Jewels has produced a sizeable collection of one-off designs—with more than 200 created annually. From conception to creation, each piece takes anywhere from several months to a year to produce, in part because Ng pays painstaking attention to every aspect of her design—right down to the enamel at the back of the jewels, which is hardly the most visible part of any piece.
“I love details,” explains Ng. “Whenever possible, I also like to push [things] further so you can wear the jewellery in several ways.” This embrace of multi-functionality comes through most clearly in her bespoke creations, which can go effortlessly from day to night with, say, the simple switch of a minimalist pendant for a statement-making gemstone-laden one.
If there’s one thing about being a jeweller designer she faults, it’s that the creative process never ends. “You don’t sleep,” she says with a half-serious laugh. “The creative process is 24/7. You keep thinking and thinking [of] how to make [things] even more perfect. Making that one piece of jewellery requires a lot of coordination and effort, which [is why it takes anywhere from a few months to a year to complete a piece].”
So when it comes to such intricately designed, one-off pieces that require such intensive craftsmanship, how does one measure their worth? Says Ng simply: “They’re priceless.”
Find out more about Simone Jewels here.
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