Up Close with DeGem’s Chief Designer, Vivien Koh

A glimpse of childhood fairytales in the form of coloured gems with DeGem.

Vivien Koh, Chief Designer of DeGem

As DeGem’s chief designer, how do you keep yourself inspired when creating jewellery?

I have been in the jewellery industry for more than 20 years, and I must say that my role has been an interesting one. In jewellery design, our trends do not change as frequently as those in fashion because we are working with precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. When we design something, it is not meant to last for only one season.

Therefore, I am constantly on my feet to understand the desires of our core customers and forecast the trends in jewellery to keep myself inspired. The satisfaction of developing a jewellery collection that encapsulates a specific moment or story in a woman’s life is also what spurs me to continuously come up with new designs that are aesthetically beautiful and meaningful to different individuals.

What’s the vision like for DeGem’s signature Fairy Tale collection?

At DeGem, we are always innovating our designs and crafts. Through signature collections like our recent Fairy Tale collection, we combine interesting stories inspired by popular fables, beautiful precious gems, creative design, and meticulous craftsmanship to bring to life a unique set of fine jewellery that sets a legacy of its own. We aspire to create jewellery that is an expression of oneself and a reflection of a society, instead of being purely a decorative adornment.

How does DeGem define “quality” in its fine jewellery pieces?

Quality encompasses the beauty and rarity of the gemstones we use in the jewellery pieces, the intricacy of the designs, as well as the superb workmanship of the craftsmen. Fine jewellery pieces should be rare and beautiful. To achieve a consistent level of quality, we take full control of the entire development journey from design sketching and sourcing of gemstones right up to the production process.

What does DeGem hope to achieve through the Fairy Tale collection?

We hope to reignite the excitement and pure bliss that we once felt when we read about the popular fairy tales of our childhood days. We want people to experience the beauty of different precious gemstones that can bring out the individuality of the wearer.

What makes DeGem’s coloured gemstones more unique from the rest?

We pay careful attention to the quality of the coloured gemstones we use in our jewellery collections. We have strict requirements on the precious gems we use and we even source them on our own through our wholesaling operation in Bangkok.

We believe that the gemstone is the heart of a fine jewellery piece and our designs revolve around enhancing the beauty of these precious stones. Having said that, for our fine jewellery collection, we often source for rare precious gemstones such as spinel, that are natural, certified, and untreated as their beauty is simply unparalleled.

How does the variety of the collection differentiate from one another?

We feature different gemstones on different jewellery pieces in the Fairy Tale collection. For example, in our Enchanted Rose necklace inspired by the tale Beauty And The Beast, we use certified, untreated spinel in a fiery red hue, which is even rarer than ruby. In our mermaid collection, we have jewellery pieces that feature tourmaline in cognac brown, colourful sapphires, and lilac pearls. Most of the jewellery pieces in this collection are one-of-a-kind where we might not able to replicate the exact same piece.

In three words, how would you describe the collection?

Whimsical, fascinating, and artistic. This jewellery collection defies conventional jewellery designs as we injected our own unique interpretation of popular fairy tales. We introduce a wide selection of gems in various dazzling shades that we believe will mesmerise jewellery aficionados.

How do unheated coloured gemstones vary from the regular gemstones?

Generally, most coloured gemstones in the market are treated, which means they have undergone chemical or heat treatment in order to enhance the colour of the stones.

An unheated coloured gemstone is akin to nature’s gift of beauty where its colour, lustre, and brilliance are unique as no two gemstones are the same. Certified, unheated coloured gemstones are rare and are highly valuable in the market.

What are your favourites from the collection?

I love all of them but if I really need to pick my favourite, it would be this extraordinary piece from the extension of the Fairy Tale collection: the Majestic Castle necklace. The star of this piece will be the exceptional rainbow-like oval-shaped fire opal weighing over 8.8 carats. This piece is very special to me as it was designed to combine a variety of rare gems such as fire opal, yellow diamond, black diamonds, and aquamarines.

What defines “individuality” in fine jewellery and gemstones?

To me, it means that the fine jewellery piece is able to bring out the personality of its wearer. Combined with precious coloured gemstones, the jewellery allows us to express our uniqueness as the possibility is endless with so many shades of gemstone colours we can choose to mix and match. It is less likely for one to wear coloured gemstone jewellery in the same colour tone and design with another person.

Check out DeGem’s brilliant jewels and breathtaking Fairy Tale collection below:

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Image by DeGem

The Sweet Indulgence Necklace

A combination of lilac purples and vivacious pinks, the Sweet Indulgence necklace emits a lively and dreamlike sparkle. The necklace features a centrepiece that hangs a beautiful 9-carat pear-shaped pink spinel, harmoniously blending brilliant diamonds as it complements the striking multicoloured jewels.

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