8 March 2006
Animal & Flower Motifs(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2006)
Bright & Beautiful
A filigree blossom in 18K gold (left), an 18K white gold diamond ring featuring round white and fancy yellow diamonds (centre), and a South Sea pearl set amid delicate diamond petals in 18K white gold are excellent examples of Deckwell Gold Int'l Ltd's sparkling brooches
Fashion may be fickle but, when it comes to jewellery, certain subjects never seem to go out of style. Nature in its many varied forms, for example, easily qualifies as having perennial appeal: animals and flowers alike continue to inspire designers.
At Opal House Ltd, for example, diamonds, gold and Australian white opals are the main materials used in crafting fanciful floral, insect, marine and animal creations.
This long-established opal specialist offers brooches and pendants that pay homage to living things from turtles to butterflies, dolphins to bees and octopuses to dragonflies.
"We sometimes add coloured sapphires, blue topaz, onyx, citrine or mother-of-pearl for colour contrast," says Anna Cheng, director of the 37-year-old OEM/ODM firm. "Customers may specify opal doublets or boulder, black or inlay opal in place of white opal."
Pieces are set in 9K-18K white or yellow gold, and sell for US$250-300 each FOB Hong Kong for small items and US$1,100-2,000 each for large pieces.
"The price depends on the number and size of the diamonds, the number of opals and the gold weight," Cheng says, adding that smaller pieces are more popular because of the price.
For large items, a single piece is the minimum order requirement, and 10 pieces for small items. Delivery is usually 3-4 weeks after order confirmation.
Opal House manufactures more than 10,000 pieces of jewellery per month at its production facility in Shunde on the Chinese mainland. Major export markets are the US, Australia, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Deckwell Gold Int'l Ltd offers antique-style European floral designs for brooches, rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. These form a key product line accounting for about 40% of output at the 17-year-old firm.
"Flowers remind people of springtime, and they're especially popular among mature women," says executive secretary Ruby So. "We focus on medium-priced diamond jewellery in 18K gold and 900 platinum."
FOB Hong Kong unit prices for rings and earrings range from HK$5,000-15,000, while those for brooches are HK$10,000-20,000, says So.
"Floral pieces can feature sapphires, rubies or other coloured stones as well as diamonds, and our bigger designs tend to sell best," she adds.
Deckwell Gold's mainland factory produces a total of about 2,000 pieces per month, and the OEM/ODM firm exports to the US and Europe, has no minimum order requirement and delivers 10 days after order confirmation.
On the other hand, 13-year-old Front Top Jewelry Mfr Ltd is looking to build on past successes with its European-style animal and insect designs.
"We want to expand our animal brooch lines, but our insect designs for earrings and pendants, which are a little smaller, usually sell better," says administration manager Chan Fook Wing.
Chan claims the firm is well-known for its diamond and gemstone-set, open-worked cat and horse-head brooches priced from US$200-500 each FOB Hong Kong.
Bees and dragonflies are favourite subjects for earrings (US$100-150 a pair) and pendants (about US$200 each).
"We use hollow metal to make the brooches lighter, while the open-worked style also helps keep them light," Chan adds.
The ODM firm turns out 600-800 pieces of fine gold jewellery set with sapphires, diamonds and pearls per month at its factory in Shunde and exports to North and South America and Europe.
Typically, brooches, earrings and pendants are set with diamonds and gemstones in 5-10 point sizes. Minimum order is 10-50 pieces, depending on the item, with delivery four weeks after order confirmation.
At Aspire Designs Ltd, intricate flower designs with an emphasis on three-dimensional composition are the hallmark, especially in the upcoming 12-piece Fiorm collection of micro-pavm diamond-set earrings and rings in tricolour 18K pink, yellow and white gold.
Floral designs in the line include tulips, sunflowers, lotus blossoms and daffodils.
Fioré earrings are priced from US$400-3,000 a pair FOB Hong Kong, with rings costing US$300-2,000 each. "We try to mix different diamond cuts, such as marquise, round, taper and baguettes," says managing director Dhaval Shah. "Diamond sizes range from 1-10 points and all items contain a strong diamond component."
Flower designs account for about 15% of the 3,000-4000 earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets that the company produces monthly at its factory in Panyu on the mainland.
"Flowers are always a mainstay even though the types of flowers may change," Shah explains.
Europe, the US and the Middle East are the company's main export markets, while the minimum order requirement is 5-10 pieces per style for delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation.
The seven-year-old ODM firm positions itself as an upscale manufacturer offering European designs combined with Asian price levels.
Aspire Designs' two-pronged focus is on classic designs and creating wearable, fashion pieces derived from haute joaillerie.
With their reputation for being in step with market trends worldwide, Hong Kong's jewellery manufacturers have also shown their savvy in capitalising on classic themes.
WRITTEN BY LIZ COLLIER
Front Top Jewelry Mfr Ltd
3 Hok Yuen St East
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Good Way Jewellery Mfy Ltd
Unit 23, 11/F, Blk B
Focal Ind Centre
21 Man Lok St
Hung Hom, Kowloon