THE PERFECT SETTING
Setting the stage for a gem to shine.
In life, we learn that in order to succeed, in order to shine at our brightest, we ought to surround ourselves with people who bring out the best in us. No matter how brilliant, there is, alas, a limit to our individual sparkle. With the right support, we could be so much more.
In design and in the arts, the same philosophy applies. True beauty and masterpieces — from Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 to the Taj Mahal, from Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking to Wong Kar-wai’s In The Mood For Love — are born when the result is far greater than the sum of its parts. And in the delicate art of jewellery design, a gemstone needs an outstanding setting to stand out like Grace needs Frankie, Sherlock needs Watson, and the Louvre needs its pyramid. On its own, precious as is, a gem is at best like Beyoncé doing “Beychella” solo: Great, sure, but without a show-stopping band of musicians, dancers and women in formation, it wouldn’t, as Bey would say, slay.
At The Canary Diamond, we take great pride in sourcing the best gemstones and diamonds. But design does not second fiddle play. The setting of a ring plays an instrumental role in highlighting the beauty of its stone. In this house, the stones and design, as well as craftsmanship, collaborate like a dream, so that your dream ring can come true. We also have a bespoke service to make sure of that. Without further ado, our chief designer, Johnny Lam, offers some insights into the design process.
Can you tell us about the design process?
Johnny: The stone is usually our starting point, because it determines the overall design of the setting. The next factor we consider is the ring size. With these two key points of reference, we start working on the overall structure of the ring. This is when we make a decision on the style that is suitable for our customer. Will it be a classic setting, or Art Deco, for example? Once that is decided, it all comes down to fine-tuning details.
How important is the setting of a ring?
Johnny: I’d say it is the most important part — the setting informs the overall silhouette of the ring, and it can being out the beauty of the stone or completely ruin it.
Is there a minimum stone size for a cocktail ring like these to turn out magnificently?
Johnny: For cocktail rings like these, it is usually the stone that catches the eye and makes a first impression, so bigger is of course better. It is possible to be creative with the design and work with smaller stones on the side or paved and haloed, but the setting of the centre stone is usually bigger and more dramatic than regular rings.
Are these rings available in the showrooms at Orchard Delfi and Takashimaya, or are they bespoke pieces?
Johnny: Both. We have some signature pieces that we have designed to inspire. We also receive quite a lot of requests from customers for customised designs.
What is, to date, the most memorable and unique design you’ve created? Why was it so special to you as a designer?
Johnny: We had a client who wanted to make something for her husband who was a jockey. We wound up with a very special ring with a horse-head motif and blue-and-orange mane. The choice of colours is because they were the colours of his jersey. I would say this was the most unique ring I’ve designed, and also a very meaningful. It pushed some limits for us to come up with a piece that is visually stunning and still looks like a fine jewellery piece with all these elements.
What would you say makes a setting perfect?
Johnny: The perfect setting for me contributes to a piece of jewellery that, when worn, gives a sense of positive emotion to the wearer and anyone who lays eyes on it. It invokes emotions and encourages dialogue. This is when we know that the design has served its purpose.
Some of these designs are quite intricate. What should people know about keeping them in good condition?
Johnny: All these pieces are quite fine in the way that they are constructed, so sufficient care needs to be taken when you’re wearing them. Plus, rings are the most exposed pieces of jewellery, so try to steer clear of hard surfaces.
You can easily clean the rings using a toothbrush with warm water at the end of the day. Do that in a gentle poking motion. Or you can always bring them into our shop, and we will take care of the rest.
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Photos: The Canary Diamond