A Different Take
Clockwise: Tinsel Tinsel Earrings with rhodolites, blue topaz and central prasiolites; Serpent Earrings with rubies, white sapphires and central clear quartz; Parakeet ring with central lemon quartz, Bird of Paradise ring with central prasiolite; and Flamingo ring with central whisky quartz; Filigree skull pendant with white sapphires; Anemone Ring with blue zircons, white and blue sapphires and central smoky quartz.
How did you get into the jewellery business?
I’ve always been fascinated with gemstones, minerals and crystals ever since I was a child. I loved collecting and playing with them in the sunlight, seeing the light reflections dance about. In 1999, I opened OPPT Shop, a vintage clothing store and I launched my first collection there. A few years later it was launched at Tangs Orchard, Robinsons The Centrepoint and Takashimaya. Then, I opened the flagship store at Wheelock Place in 2011.
Did you take any courses to pursue your passion for jewellery?
There were no schools offering jewellery courses then. I learnt silver-smithing from an old craftsman but I grew bored very quickly. Physically, I was toiling away at the workbench but my mind was wandering — dreaming of gemstones, imagining gorgeous pieces on beautiful women in glossy magazines. I am almost completely self-taught. I guess, in a way, that’s good because it allows me to explore and develop my own style without being confined by rules and boundaries. If you don’t know the rules, you can’t break them, so nothing can be wrong!
What makes your jewellery different from the rest?
I wish I could say I spend time checking out what others are doing but I don’t. I just focus on my designs and try to do it to the best of my ability. The brand is very design-centric, and it’s about luxury — being original using quality stones and workmanship — made affordable. This is what I strive to put into my jewellery, incorporating my lifelong love for beautiful gemstones into my designs.
What advice do you have for women seeking jewellery from an independent designer?
Buy with your heart. Know that jewellery from an independent label has probably been given more sweat, tears and attention than those by some of the bigger brands. Be adventurous and buy at least one design that’s not of your usual style per year. You will be pleasantly surprised how much excitement it adds to your wardrobe. Wear it, enjoy it, flaunt it and don’t keep them under lock and key in the safe box.