8 Sept 2004
Natural Beauties(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,2004)
A Cut Above
Buildview Jewellery Ltd
|The Shitan collection of rings and pendants created by Buildview Jewellery Ltd features Indian red sandalwood offset by semiprecious stones set in 14K yellow gold|
The natural beauty of Indian red sandalwood provided the inspiration for a unique new collection from Hong Kong jewellery manufacturer Buildview Jewellery Ltd.
The new medium offers a warm setting for the Shitan collection of rings and pendants, which is offset by semiprecious stones such as amethyst, peridot, topaz, citrine and garnet set in 14K yellow gold.
"The current popularity of Chinese wooden manikins inspired us to feature wood in a collection," explains managing director Matt Chan. "We chose wood because we wanted to retain the natural elements in a jewellery line that was innovative and fashionable."
He selected red sandalwood for its colour and quality, and also because it has little smell. "Red sandalwood provides the best quality for jewellery as it is hard, water-resistant and doesn't crack," Chan notes. "The wood is not dyed and is hand polished for maximum effect."
Every piece in the 30-design Shitan collection is handmade by skilled craftsmen on the Chinese mainland and Chan says the slight variations in wood grain make each piece unique. "In ancient China, red sandalwood was considered equal to gold and jade and only the Chinese royal family had furniture made from red sandalwood," he adds.
The right choice of stone was vital to contrast with the warm hue of the wood and Buildview chose Signity stones, which are noted for their brilliance and cut. "Signity have created new colours for stones, which are proving very popular," Chan says.
Buildview sources its red sandalwood from India and manufactures at a 120-worker factory in Shenzhen on the mainland. "Every piece is handcrafted so production takes longer - 60 days on average," Chan reveals, adding that major markets are the US and Italy, which usually orders its own designs.
Chan has worked hard to re-educate buyers as, unlike metal rings, wood ones cannot be resized. "I explain that if you're selling designer shoes, you don't offer refitting to consumers," he emphasises. "We overcome the problem of overstocking by looking for sole distributors in each region."
The Shitan collection marks the latest stage in the ongoing development of a company that began operations in 1999 as an offshoot from family-owned Uniweld Jewellery Co Ltd, which was established in 1981 and produces jewellery for the wholesale market.
"Buildview was set up as a separate company specifically to launch our own brands and design our own jewellery collections for overseas markets," explains Chan. "We also design collections for customers, from concept right through to delivery."
Since start-up, Buildview has been a regular at the Hong Kong and Basel jewellery fairs, paying particular attention to its image, presentation and displays.
"This is a vital investment in our overall marketing strategy and has paid dividends as a jewellery retailer launched the Buildview brand on the Asian market this year," he notes.
Buildview also offers other collections, many based on natural elements such as flowers, the ocean and rainbows. "One of our distinguishing features, beyond our quality and design, is the substantial gold content of our jewellery, which transforms them into lifetime pieces," claims Chan.
The company sources quality gems from Hong Kong suppliers and diamonds from Israel, particularly for one of its latest collections that features two-toned white and yellow gold and is proving "very popular" in Europe.
Buildview normally launches four new collections a year in its main markets of the US, which takes 50% of its business, and the UK (20%). "We are also very interested in Germany as we believe our quality control is up to its demanding standards, and Australia, which likes Italian styles and substantial gold content and solid structure," adds Chan.
As for future styles, Chan says these closely follow the fashion market and notes a couple of different trends for spring 2005. "One is contrasting colour, mixing black and red using onyx, black diamonds, rubies, pink sapphires and pink topaz," he maintains.
"The other is for pastel colours such as green, blue and purple that create a more natural look, while white gold is still popular, especially in Asia."
Whatever the trend, rest assured this creative and energetic company will be building exciting new collections with a view to expanding its reach worldwide.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Buildview Jewellery Ltd
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