DIAMONDS may be a girl's best friend, but precious metals, gems, jade and pearls are not far behind either. These precious gems, which put fine jewellery in a league of its own, are gifts of nature.
Fine jewellery is often made by skilled craftsmen who use the best grades of precious metals and gems. Designed for the discerning eye, they are often hailed as precious works of art.
On the head: Ethereal dews necklace, Poh Heng, $56,000; On the neck: Momentum collection by Wykidd, Soo Kee, $14,388; On the shoulder: Necklace with 107-carat diamond pendant, DeGem, US$3.5million; On the body: Fantasy bra set, Mouawad, valued at US$4.5 million; In the hand: Polar Bear Egg, Fabergé, presented by DeGem, $60,000; On the left arm: Pearl necklace, Hodel, presented by DeGem, $54,500; On the fi nger: Pearl ring, Hodel, presented by DeGem, $13,750; On the wrist: Rosa Fantasia necklace, Lee Hwa, $541,278; On the right arm: Primavera necklace, Giovanni Ferraris, $12,300.
Visitors to this year's Singapore JewelFest (SJF), which opens today, will get a glimpse of rare gems and fine jewels crafted by world-renowned jewellers in a tribute to the finest gifts from nature.
Mr Kean Ng, chairman of SJF 2008, says the 10-day show will focus on the significance and splendour of nature.
He adds: "The beauty of rare gems and diamonds, fine jade and exquisite pearls and a stunning range of gold jewellery designs are the attractions of this year's SJF.
"In appreciation of the earth we live on, as well as taking a page from fashion directions, jewellers have also created signature pieces and pret-aporter collections inspired by nature," he says.
Take, for instance, Fabergé's offering this year - its Natsuke-inspired The Orang Utan WWF-for-Nature Egg is created with 18-carat gold, French enamel and diamonds.
Ms Ivy Choa, manager from DeGem-Singapore, which is bringing in the pieces, says proceeds from the sale will go to the World Wildlife Fund.
Mouawad, on the other hand, hopes to capture the hearts of visitors with its nature-inspired Fantasy Collection. Valued at US$4.5 million (S$6.6 million), the Fantasy bra set is made of approximately 10,000 diamonds, emeralds, rubies and yellow sapphires totaling over 1,662 carats.
Hellmuth, another premier jewellery brand synonymous with impeccable craftsmanship, is bringing in its signature Croco texture jewellery.
Inspired by nature, the Hellmuth Croco Jewellery features an elegant pattern of crocodile skin interpreted in gold and often juxtaposed with diamonds and precious stones.
Asian and European designers have also created signature designs for the festival - Baerjewels' Lovebirds, YEWN's Joie de Vivre, JOON's Serpent, Staurino's Cuore Farfalla, Giovanni Ferraris' Primavera and Marco Bicego's Confetti.
Singapore's leading jewellery brands, among them Goldheart, Lee Hwa, Soo Kee, Poh Heng, Tianpo, D'Meyson and Cupid, have come up with one-of-a-kind signature designs inspired by nature.
Befitting the exhibition's theme, the 10-day SJF2008 is divided into a two-part showcase - the Spring/ Summer show from today to Tuesday, and the Autumn/ Winter show from Oct 29 to Nov 2.
Mr Ng says: "The blooms of Spring/Summer are best portrayed with fine jewellery designs of gems, jade and pearls. The warmth of Autumn easing into the icy beauty of Winter is well depicted with jewellery of diamonds and gold."
With such an array of sparkling designs, SJF promises to be a glittering event, bringing together repeat participants such as Farbegé and Mouawad and newcomers such as Hellmuth, La Tienne, Cherie Thum and Intermix Gems.
Participation is by invitation and screening is conducted to enable quality thematic jewellery experiences to be appreciated and enjoyed. Last year, the SJF attracted over 18,000 visitors, garnering $12 million in sales. Mr Ng hopes to achieve 10 per cent growth this year. Even if you don't intend to splurge on jewellery, Mr Ng says, SJF2008 is worth a visit.
He adds: "The Jewel Pavilion is a one-stop shopping destination to appreciate different fine quality jewellery genres - diamonds, gems, jade and pearls. For those not intending to spend on jewellery, it is worth a trip to experience the luxurious custom-built retail environment celebrating the beauty of nature."
A luxurious experience
Visit the Singapore JewelFest 2008 at the Jewel Pavilion at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza from today to Nov 2, open to the public, free, from noon to 9pm. Jewel Pavilion will be closed from 6pm today and on Oct 29 for private events.
Over 10 days, the Jewel Pavilion will play host to all that inspires, influences and is invocative of the "Nature of Beauty" in fine jewellery and living.
This year's festival is divided into a two-part showcase of fine jewellery - Spring/ Summer show from today to Oct 28, and Autumn/ Winter show from Oct 29 to Nov 2.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 24, 2008.