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22 Oct 2020 Updated 23 Oct 2020

Home-grown Simone Jewels becomes first S'porean jewellery brand to stock at Harrods

The Straits Times Amanda Chai


Simone Jewels' showcase at Harrods (above left) features its Quintessentially British collection, which is inspired by the Georgian era of British history. Among the pieces is a £38,000 (S$67,700) Georgian Grandeur necklace (above right). PHOTOS: SIMONE JEWELS, SIMONE NG 


SINGAPORE - Harrods in London has added a new fine jewellery label to its coveted roster of brands, and it is one Singaporeans can be proud of.

Simone Jewels, founded by local jeweller Simone Ng, debuted at the luxury department store's Fine Jewellery Room on October 15, the first Singaporean jewellery brand to do so.

It was a surprise and "a dream come true" being selected to stock at Harrods, says Ms Ng, 46. The store has a notoriously selective process, and does not take appointments, she adds.

"Harrods was looking for fresh, promising designers and I guess we fit the bill," says the jeweller, who had to oversee the moving-in process over Zoom last week.

She credits Enterprise Singapore, whose London office linked her up with House Of Luxury, a global agency that represents fine art and jewellery brands. They showed the Simone Jewels portfolio to Harrods and set up a virtual meeting, and the rest was history.

The certified gemologist was told that "there were a few things about the brand that Harrods liked" - how all her pieces are one-of-a-kind and come with a story, and that she brings knowledge and variety in rare gemstones to discerning collectors. Her label is known for whimsical, coloured gem-centric designs inspired by historical figures and events.

The showcase is a pop-up featuring her Quintessentially British collection - an assortment of "quaintly English" rings, earrings, and necklaces inspired by the Georgian era of British history. It will also be available online for three months at harrods.com.

To her knowledge, new brands rarely enter Harrods on a permanent basis the first time.

"This was an opportunity to get our foot in the door," she says. "I remember many years ago, stepping into Harrods for the first time, I wondered if there were any Singaporean brands here. I said to myself, it would be so nice if we could be here one day."

The Malaysian-born designer from Kuala Lumpur, whose grandfather owned a jewellery retail chain, moved to Singapore in 2002. She started her brand in 2006, after picking up jewellery design as a hobby and realising she had flair for it.

The pandemic has been more manageable than expected, says Ms Ng. Though she had to deal with cancelled global jewellery shows such as Couture Las Vegas and Paris Fashion Week, the team was pushed to adapt creatively, such as by offering gemstone masterclasses online.

She adds that the brand was invited by luxury fashion e-tailer Moda Operandi to do a solo trunk show virtually early next year, with their "top fine jewellery customers" in attendance.

Unlikely celebrities have also been photographed sporting Simone Jewels in this time, such as Raya Abirached, a Lebanese television presenter who co-hosts talent show Arabs Got Talent; and British rapper Ms Banks.

Scoring Harrods is a milestone for the brand, which turns 15 this year, says Ms Ng.

"Going international in any year is already very difficult; this year added a whole new dimension to the challenges. I feel that it's really a coup for a Singaporean jewellery brand to be showcased in Harrods. It's a promising start to our international journey."

Other Singaporean brands in Harrods include designer Ethan Koh's luxury accessories label Ethan K - known for its bags made of exotic animal skins - which opened a boutique on the ground floor in 2014.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.