When it comes to jewellery, I’m drawn towards eclectic pieces. I can be wearing the plainest outfit, but I’ll always accessorise with a big-ass statement ring or bracelet. I like designs with character, and pieces that enable me to do a bit of layering too (if I feel so inclined on the day!)
So, when I happened to be sourcing clothing for a shoot from a cute boutique on Amoy Street called Willow & Huxley, I came across Trish Van N the label and it’s been nagging on my mind to post about the jewellery ever since. The local Singapore-based brand is founded by designer Tricia Ng, who has a full-time job and manages the jewellery business as her side-passion (#girlboss).
Although there have been quite a few contemporary jewellery collections on the market, some of which showcase similar features to Tricia’s label – such as the architectural inspiration and geometric edges – there are a couple of factors that drew me in:
From an editor’s perspective, I first noticed the consistency of inspiration throughout her range. For example, the way that the bauble details on the Anette rings compliment and echo the feminine and classy pearl detailing on the Ines and Cloche, which is echoed again in the Sabine gold choker. The whole collection presents a clear vision and gets it’s message across, which Tricia describes as an ‘aesthetic that is boldly modern, feminine and timeless’ while intended to be ‘mixed, matched and layered’. Designing a coherent collection may sound like such a simple concept, but it’s definitely not something all designers achieve – and it all adds to the appeal.
From the variation in designs from the chunky Cecile or Elise necklaces, or the pretty colours you can choose from with the statement Lilou ring, I love that there is so much choice. The price point range is reasonable too.
I like how solid and well-made the pieces feel in your hands and while you’re wearing them. All designs are handcrafted in Thailand from precious metals such as gold vermeil (18-carat gold gilded over silver or brass) and 14-carat gold.
Read on for an interview with the woman herself discussing how she founded the business, her favourite pieces and her thoughts on Asia’s jewellery industry. Enjoy browsing the pictures of the jewellery too – I had fun taking these and thankfully the weather held up on the day to catch the light!
Photography by Entheo Leung
Hey Tricia! Tell me a bit about yourself and your background as a jewellery designer.
I’m 34 with two children, have a full-time job in the commodities broking industry, and have been designing jewellery since 2010 which was the inception of my previous label T. Atelier Jewels. I’m self-taught, with the exception of a course at the Jewellery Design and Management Institute of Singapore.
Why the shift to create your own label?
Trish Van N is my second label, born in 2016 as I broke partnership on my previous brand T. Atelier in 2015. Between 2004 and 2006, I set up a retail shop in the old Scotts Shopping Centre that brought in American and European contemporary designers. Being in touch with the artistic visions of each different designer opened up the creative fire in me, and eventually I was inspired to create my own line a few years later.
Tell me more about the vision and inspiration behind your current collection.
I wanted to create pieces that are bold yet feminine, that could be mixed and layered. There’s also something about yellow gold that I love – it blends with every skin tone and gives an aura of decadence and classiness. Pieces like the Anette, Ines and Cloche were inspired by dew drops and little bells, whereas you can see more geometric influences in the Eva, Bon Bon and Elise designs.
Describe the process behind the jewellery’s craftsmanship in Thailand.
All designs are hand-drawn by me, sent to my factory over there for discussion and adjustments for CAD (a lot of back and forth happens there!) before master designs are produced. Once I see them, I’ll approve them for dimension and wearability – if it’s not right or comfortable when worn, it will be redone) before the pieces are hand-casted by their craftsmen.
Do you source for materials yourself? What involvement do you have in the design process?
It depends on the stones required for each design. If most of the stones (such as sapphires) can be easily acquired by the factory, they’ll do that for me. However, I’ve been producing some one-off fine pieces which require me to personally source for the stones individually.
Do you have a favourite piece? If so, which one and why?
Of course I love everything I’ve designed, but the piece which sings to me the most would be the Bon Bon ring. It has an art deco feel, but at the same time is quirky and fun with it’s colourful enamelling. It’s always a conversation starter!
What are your thoughts on the jewellery industry in Asia right now?
From what I’ve observed, Asian jewellery designers are moving away from conventional designs, but I think there is still much room for creative growth. That said, I’ve seen some very creative designers in Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan who have really pushed the creative envelope recently when it comes to jewellery design.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as an entrepreneur in Singapore’s fashion industry?
It’s a big challenge to sustain a brick-and-mortar fashion retail business here due to the high cost of rental and the quality of service staff. I’ve learnt that it made much more sense to invest in a great e-commerce site where you can potentially reach more direct buying. For brand expansion, it always helps to look for showroom representation locally, as well as overseas.
|Pictured: pieces from Trish Van N’s one-of-a-kind fine jewellery range in 14-carat yellow gold with white diamonds and gemstones|
|Pictured: wearing the Anna necklace|