Southeast Asian jewellers have become a force to reckon with in the global fine jewellery industry. With their inherent creativity, fine workmanship and business acumen, these companies have successfully penetrated major world markets over the years, ensuring their ascent to prominence. JNA takes a closer look at their core products, trade practices and growth strategies going forward.
Jewelmer Joaillerie – Philippines
Golden South Sea pearl specialist Jewelmer Joaillerie consistently pushes the envelope of jewellery design and craftsmanship. The Philippines-based fine jeweller recently unveiled two innovative pearl and diamond jewellery collections.
In an interview, Jacques Christophe Branellec, deputy CEO of Jewelmer, said the Louvre and Illusion Collections feature unconventional designs that give classic pearl and diamond jewellery a more contemporary appeal.
“We always try to push the boundary of pearl jewellery design. The Louvre Collection, inspired by the Louvre in Paris, pays homage to architectural structures. The Illusion Collection, meanwhile, draws inspiration from the interplay between pearls and lights, which is established through different angles and shapes,” noted Branellec. “As always, the Philippine golden South Sea pearl is the star of every jewellery piece.”
The pieces come in 18-karat gold and are embellished with diamonds.
According to the company official, the collections celebrate the diversity of pearls and a fresh way of designing around the pearl.
“Pearl design is very challenging because the pearl has a lot of volume. It’s all about recreating that space around the pearl and ensuring harmony among the pearl, the gold and the diamonds,” Branellec added.
The challenge, however, is on the production side, noted the pearl specialist. “We hope the environment will still allow us to produce these beautiful and rare golden South Sea pearls.”
The Louvre and Illusion Collections were presented at the September Hong Kong Fair, where Jewelmer met with its regular customers and a number of new retailers.
The jeweller entertained clients mainly from China but there were also customers from Australia, Puerto Rico and other international markets, according to Branellec.
“It’s interesting how we have been attracting retailers from China. I think the retail market in China is maturing and that buyers are looking for more bespoke jewellery items that cannot be found in shopping malls,” he continued.
The company is gearing up for “bigger and better” initiatives in the future, said Branellec, adding that Jewelmer is committed to bringing the best of what the Philippines has to offer to the world of fine jewellery, thereby helping raise the profile of Southeast Asian jewellers in the international scene.
“We’re starting to see more and more homegrown luxury brands in Asia exporting their products to the world market. Historically, Europeans come to Asia to showcase their products. This is an exciting development,” he stated.
According to Branellec, Jewelmer continues to grow the brand organically through building suitable and sustainable long-term partnerships.
Untung Bersama Sejahtera – Indonesia
With 35 years of experience in the jewellery manufacturing industry, Untung Bersama Sejahtera of Indonesia has built a solid customer portfolio in Asia, the Middle East, the US and Europe.
According to Eddy Susanto Yahya, president and director of Untung Bersama, the company specialises in a broad array of gold jewellery including rings, earrings and necklaces, with emphasis on chains.
“We use Italian manufacturing machinery and we have 3,300 people in our factory. Our company combines the best elements of technology and manpower to make top-quality jewellery products that are on a par with those of Italian jewellery manufacturers but at more affordable prices,” Yahya said in an interview.
Untung Bersama’s production facility, located in Surabaya, produces 400 new designs in 9-karat to 22-karat white, yellow and rose gold every month. Some pieces are adorned with cubic zirconia.
“Buyers don’t need to go to many different factories; they can just go to us and source all their jewellery needs from our company,” continued Yahya.
One of the jeweller’s most sought-after designs is the diamond cut, which is done by hand.
“This particular cut gives more sparkle to the piece,” he added.
Untung Bersama’s major markets are Hong Kong and the Middle East, but it also has customers in the US and Italy.
Clients from different countries look for varied designs, according to the Indonesian manufacturer.
Buyers from Hong Kong prefer lightweight jewellery in 14-karat to 18-karat gold but in diverse designs. Middle Eastern customers, meanwhile, want sizeable, higher-carat jewellery items such as chains.
The company is focused on strengthening its operations in existing markets instead of venturing into new areas of business, citing economic challenges.
“In reality, the jewellery market is shrinking but there’s a silver lining: There is less competition. We want to fortify our position in our current markets,” noted Yahay. “All eyes are on Asia at the moment since Asian economies are performing better than their Western counterparts.”
Specifically, Untung Bersama is eyeing China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and India. The company also wants to enter the South American market, according to Yahya.
Untung Bersama made waves at the September Hong Kong Fair, attracting buyers from the US, Europe and Asia with its latest collections.
Its most sought-after products were chains and contemporary gold jewellery products.
The company is aiming to present fresh collections in future international jewellery shows to keep its edge in gold jewellery manufacturing.
“For 2017, we are planning to refine our expertise in hollow chains. Since gold prices are on the rise, buyers are constantly looking for bigger but lightweight pieces that are less expensive,” continued Yahya.
The company executive counts continuous investments in the latest manufacturing technology among the jeweller’s competitive strengths.
“We always upgrade our machinery; this is part and parcel of our operations. Constant innovation is crucial to surviving challenges in the market. Market diversification is also important,” remarked Yahya.