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The Straits Times

8 Oct 2016

Michael talks about today industry

Award-winning designs

Jewellery enthusiasts looking for exceptional pieces can expect to find incredible works of artistry and creativity from award-winning world class designers. Here’s sneak peek: With a string of accolades under its belt, such as the Creative ASEAN Jewellery Design Competition in 2015, local jeweller Caratell’s Afghan emerald necklace is ornamented with an assortment of coloured sapphires, tsavorities and diamonds.

Challenges Today

A “friendlier” price point may actually mean a more realistic one, said Michael Koh, the designer and founder of home-grown brand Caratell. He reasoned that, besides the general economic slowdown worldwide, the “clamping down on bribery in China” and the implementation of “rules and regulations by the World Bank to fight against money laundering” are two other reasons that have impacted the jewellery industry. However, this should be seen positively in the long run as the price of gems would be “more realistic and stabilised”, he said.

Caratell will be exhibiting for the sixth time at JewelFest this year. “The rare, beautiful, or untreated exclusive investment gemstones will still be in high demand. A good indication is the record high prices they pull at the auction houses,” he added.

According to a report by the Daily Telegraph, in May this year, the 14.62-carat Oppenherimer blue diamond sold for £40 million (S$68.2 million), and in May last year, the 25.59-carat Sunrise ruby went under the hammer for £19.6 million.

For Koh, the increasing use of technology has been the biggest challenge. “in the past few years, you can see rapid changes in technology, such as the use of 3D printers and stereolithography that brings precision to fabrication as well as reducing production time.” He explained.

There is also the widespread use of the Internet in both jewellery retail and knowledge sharing. “Social media creates an exponential effect on (the reach of) fashion, style and design, and higher acceptance of rare unusual gems. But also because of the Internet, everything seems so transparent. The ‘mysterious’ feel in the jewellery trade, such as where a gem is mined and how it is processed, is now missing.”

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