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Mar 2015

Designer sees solid demand for handmade jewellery

Jewellery designer Michael Koh anticipates stronger demand for handcrafted jewellery in Singapore and other Asian markets in the coming years. "This is the direction that we are seeing. Consumers will look for intricate, handmade pieces instead of items created with the help of computer-aided design and manufacturing software," Koh said. In a talk with JNA, the managing director of Singapore-based Caratell Pte Ltd shares the company's growth strategy for 2015 and its vision to promote inspired jewellery designs.

Competitive market

According to Koh, the jewellery market has become intensely competitive, emphasising the need for one-of-a-kind designs to keep customers interested. Caratell regularly releases new collections that combine coloured gemstones such as type-A natural imperial jade, aquamarine, spinel from Burma and blue sapphire from Sri Lanka or Madagascar, among others.

Koh said he visits mines and buys the finest rough material that he could find. "We use high-quality stones and 18-karat white, yellow and rose gold," he added.

Caratell's jewellery pieces fall within the $ 5,000 to $ 100,000 price range, Koh noted. The company's strongest markets are Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia but it is also eyeing buyers from Brazil, China, the Middle East and the US. Caratell customers prefer untreated gemstones, according to Koh.

To remain competitive, the jewellery entrepreneur said one must constantly excite the market with new designs. "We are in the process of producing something in the coming months. Although the economy has yet to recover, we expect to record single-digit growth this year. The key is to continue to be creative, innovative and original," Koh said. JNA

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