Wednesday, February 22, 2012


18-Karat Gold Plated Slate Rings
with Natural Pyrite
Opened to the public thirty-nine years ago as “a symbol to welcome all visitors to Singapore,” Merlion Park is a popular attraction with two half mermaid, half lion (hence Merlion) statutes located on its grounds.  Singapore is also home to featured jewelry designer Marilyn Tan.

Okay I have a confession to make.  For the longest time I had the perception that costume or fashion jewelry was not well made, and in some cases that was true.  Like many people I had unfortunate incidents where glossy surface appearances belied subpar materials that rendered irksome allergic reactions. 

I also held the belief that costume jewelry was mass produced by jewelry manufacturers not a seasoned jewelry maker. However, now I have learned differently.  For one there are some people who experience allergic reactions to 18-karat gold due to the common practice of jewelers mixing nickel with pure gold to produce lower karats.

I have also learned that fashion jewelry designers like Judith Bright (USA), Vanessa Quijano (Puerto Rico), Mercedes Salazar (Colombia) and Irit Goffer-Sasson (Israel) are very particular in gathering top-notch materials to implement into their respective jewelry collections.  They use everything from tarnish resistant rhodium plating to African trade beads to high-quality 24-karat gold plating.

The same sources of inspiration and passion are as much a part of the creative process of a fashion jewelry designer as it is to one who creates fine jewelry.  Tan’s lush and organic assortment of bangle bracelets, stack rings, and gemstone pendants cultivated from 18-karat gold or rhodium plating over sterling silver is a feast for the eye.

The 18-year veteran chooses the beauty and complexity of nature as her muse; trees to be exact.  The bamboo, cauarina and the bougainvillea trees encountered during her travels inspired her aptly named Tree Ring Collection

“I remember the trees of my childhood: the unique miniature Zen-like qualities of the Bonsai tree; how I would pick up Frangipani Flowers on walks; and being greeted by the palm trees on the drive home from the airport.  My love of nature and traveling is the heart of my Tree Ring Collection.”

Pink Agate Bib Necklace with
Suede and Grosgrain Ribbon
The open-ended rings from this collection feature lovely semi-precious gemstones including rose quartz, peridot, garnet, amethyst, and freshwater pearl.   She has a fantastic eye for nuance and it is clear she enjoys experimenting with different tones and textures for metals and semi-precious gemstones as well.

I cannot shake the image of a pair of fabulous looking rings from her Pyrite and Slate Collection.  The slate and pyrite settings resemble decadent pieces of gooey fruit and nut chocolate chunk candy plopped on an 18-karat gold plated ring band.  It is a great visual; the inky black slate against the coppery-gold chunks of pyrite.

Her Leather and Chain collection shows off alternate moods of leather.  On the one hand there is sleek sensuality; on the other ruggedness.  The blend of those two personalities results in choker necklaces and leather bracelets that are chic and stylish with a hint of badass.

Her Organic Collection with its coral-like design pattern of perforated metal in yellow, white and rose gold plating are beautifully complex yet expressed with a pared down sensibility.  Nonetheless they are no less statement making!

“After I retired from the legal profession I took a part-time jewelry design course at La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore.  In time my passionate pursuit of jewelry design evolved into a business that highlights unique pieces with a timeless quality.
18-Karat Gold Plated Organic Sapphire
Bangle Bracelet

The jewelry is all crafted by hand.  I love to use unusual or polished, uncut and unfacetted gemstones. 

I think my jewelry has a quirky edge that appeals to strong, confident and independent individuals who appreciate design.”

More of Tan’s gorgeous fashion jewelry is available at online jewelry store Doorstep Luxury and be sure to visit her Facebook page.
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