Monday, December 20, 2010


A premier location renowned for its superior acoustics and lovely architecture is Singapore’s Esplanade building; a 2,000 seat arena designed to observe stellar singing or musical performances. Singapore is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Choo Yilin.

Starting a business is a daunting endeavor requiring careful research on market trends, building a solid brand, and honing in on your target clientele.

Award-winning designer Yilin wanted to build her business with the additional challenge of producing her product with ethically sourced materials.

A former political analyst, Yilin made jewelry in her downtime to decompress and eventually established a side-business that allowed her to sell her jewelry through “independent luxury boutiques in Singapore.”

Three years ago Yilin abruptly severed her full-time career after relocating with her husband to Thailand. Hungry to “reinvent” herself Yilin boldly set out to establish an ethically responsible jewelry business using recycled fine silver, 18-karat gold, and fair trade gemstones while also enlisting the expertise of Karen hill tribe artisans.

“My travels to Europe were a great influence in formulating my aesthetic. A variety of experiences including moving to Thailand, my exposure to the hill tribe culture, and the realization that consumption patterns had to be changed strongly influenced emphasizing sustainability in my label,” says Yilin.

“I decided to work with the Karen hill tribe to preserve their cultural art-form while also generating employment and income for them. The goal of creating a profitable company that makes a social impact, and is also ecologically sustainable is extremely challenging. I hope to demonstrate that luxury jewelry can co-exist with sustainability.”

Yilin’s classic aesthetic is punctuated by offsetting the ethereal femininity of pavé settings, and checkerboard facets of blue and green sapphires with the beautiful reddish aura of 18-karat rose gold vermeil.

The gemstones are pale and translucent like rock candy; pieces like her yellow and rose gold gild Calla Lily Pendant Necklace highlight such sculptural fluidity it looks like a natural leaf dipped in molten metal; and she provides a differentiated take on classic bangle bracelets and rings as they are created entirely from a pallid green jade.

“I am under no illusion whatsoever that my label will turn a person into someone who practices sustainability. The primary goal of the label is to elevate awareness.”

Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Vermeil Berry Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Vermeil Apertifs Cocktail Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Hammered Jade Bangle Bracelets
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