If rings could talk, some of them have amazing stories to tell.
For instance, six bejewelled rings recently launched in Singapore have been the talk of town ever since. These one-of-its-kind rings are a collaboration between jewellery designer and gemologist Simone Ng and architect and City Time Traveller host Jason Pomeroy.
Ng is Malaysian while Pomeroy is of British-Malaysian parentage. The Singapore-based duo are like-minded people who have a love for history, art and design.
The rings are from a capsule collection called Jewels Of Architecture, which are reinterpretations of Britain’s iconic architecture. The collection tracks the evolution of British architecture from the 11th to 20th century.
It took a year to get the rings crafted layer by layer, in different techniques by craftsmen using fine materials and high quality sugarloaf gemstones. Every ring also has a secret compartment that reflects the building’s interior.
Pomeroy sees the collaboration as a way of educating the public about architecture through a different medium. “I was intrigued by the intricacy of Simone’s previous creations and the stories the pieces tell,” he said.
“The collection is not just jewellery inspired by some of the most innovative examples of British architecture, it is an example of an interdisciplinary collaboration that has created one-of-a-kind pieces,” enthused Pomeroy.
The designs of the rings, he explained, capture “the essence of architecture” of iconic buildings such as the Queen’s House, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster.
The collection also captures parts of Pomeroy’s life journey as an architect and the buildings he holds dear. When he was studying at Cambridge, he was fascinated by the King’s College Chapel, an architectural innovation.
Pomeroy also spoke of the Palace of Westminster which he used to pass on his way to work. This imposing Neo-Gothic structure comprises the House of Commons and House of Lords, which form the heart of British politics.
Ng, who is from a family of jewellers, founded her label Simone Jewels and is also its creative director. In 2006, she launched her first collection with 20 one-of-a-kind pieces. Ten of them were sold within 30 minutes.
Every year, the label’s new collection has an intriguing story. This year, she wanted “something British-inspired”. The architecture-inspired range of jewellery rings true to her brand ethos: “Yesterday’s tale. Today’s creation. Tomorrow’s delight.”
In designing this jewellery line, Ng does not just emphasise design and investment value. The jewellery must also have a story to tell. “Just like how an architect needs to shape spaces to work or play, a jewellery designer has to shape jewels to conform to our bodies without compromising the design,” she said.
Ng’s biggest challenge is in designing the shank of the ring. “While we want to reflect the building, the ring has to look nice (and flattering to the wearer) as well,” she insisted.
The six rings are designed with sugarloaf gemstones, which are quite difficult to find. Attractive sugarloaf gemstones are high quality, free from impurities and have good lustre, explained Ng.
The colour of the stone is also essential in narrating the story. “The romantic ruins (of the Berry Pomeroy Castle) were once surrounded by lush greenery including apple trees. Translating this into design, I have adorned the ring shank with the English rose, leaves, apples and bees. A stunning 9.56 carat unheated green peridot was chosen as the centrepiece,” said Ng, adding that the ring’s compartment reveals a secret stairway in the castle.
The St Paul’s Cathedral ring has simple baroque details on the outside; leaving the dome as a surprise within the secret compartment. Ng explained that the dome was recreated at a microscale, with a single diamond set in the centre to represent the light of faith.
“It took the craftsman almost 4,800 hours to intricately carve the baroque details and create a hidden opening in between these details. Diamonds are finely micro-paved throughout the ring and the main gemstone is a rare 8.55 carat pink zircon sugarloaf,” she said.
Ng finds the lobby of the Palace of Westminister to be the most beautiful section – large stained-glass windows and a gigantic chandelier in the middle of the room. The ring shank (inspired by this building) mirrors the gothic details, which are set with diamonds and white mother of pearl.
The centrepiece is a stunning 10.65 carat unheated red garnet sugarloaf. Beneath the stone is a compartment housing a diamond-studded chandelier, a mini replica of the actual one.
The rings will be exhibited at Suen Jewellers in Kuala Lumpur from April 14 to 20 and Malaysia International Jewellery Festival from April 21 at KL Convention Centre.