Bling with a bang | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

After a recession-induced toning down of the bling, women are flashing bolder pieces again.

Firma celebrates the return of extravagance with a jewelry exhibit, “Deux Yeux,” by Kristine Dee and Paul Syjuco.  Translated as “two eyes,” the collections feature royal jewelry interpreted by these young designers.

The holiday trend is pushing statement pieces such as dangling earrings, big chokers, layered necklaces and cocktail rings.

The pieces reveal the designers’ mettle in crafting  fine jewelry.

Syjuco’s ring brandishes a  peridot with carvings of palm leaves,  resting on an arabaseque setting of pavé diamonds and 14-karat yellow gold.  The shaping and polishing turn the opaque gemstone into an eye-grabber.

The metal work, done with utmost precision, highlights the Filipino’s craftsmanship.  Dee’s cuffs are  soldered, drilled, punched with holes to suggest lightness. A gold cuff is embossed with  legions of pointillist dots, speckled with precious stones.

Although they’re inspired by  history—Syjuco by the India’s Mughal maharajahs and Dee by European monarchs, their pieces echo the vogue in the runways.


Take the lacework and curlicues. Syjuco has arabesque designs inspired by the Mughal period.

Dee’s  perforated cuff in white gold,  encrusted with rubies, spinels, sapphires and diamonds, resembles an expensive doily.

“I wanted to create a nice pattern with these holes so that it doesn’t look heavy on the eye,” she says.

Botanical patterns—foliage, flowers and leaves—are subtly interpreted in Dee’s drop earrings, made of  baroque South Sea pearls dangling from  diamonds in floral studs. A long necklace is  a South Sea pearl  on yellow and white gold flowerettes. These are  fastened to bigger flower in rose gold.

Chokers are a must-have  this season. Syjuco’s neckpiece is made of black spinel beads combined with  translucent, oval-shaped-smokey quartz and lemon quartz.  White sapphires in yellow gold settings  in  arabesque designs project Islamic art.

He gives a twist to the classic cultured pearl necklace by using a detachable, gold  pendant made of multi-colored pastel rose-cut sapphires shaped like a flower. It can be worn as a long strand or wound up into a choker.

“I used lots of rose cut stones. They are not as brilliant as the faceted ones. It’s got the old world feel,” says Syjuco. The rose cut is a traditional way of cutting jewelry with a single layer of facet and is never perfectly round. He also likes the spinels for their brilliance.

“They lend luxury,” he says. “The quartzes and carnelians are big, like rocks.” He used these stones to mimic the jewels worn in India. “That’s how I imagined the sapphires and rubies in the Mughal Empire. They didn’t change the shape of the stone so much. They put facets on the outside.”

Syjuco explains that to give the  jewelry a contemporary feel, the setting is not as refined, what with the overlapping edges.  “My jewelry can be worn every day, not just for special occasions.”

Bold shapes

Dee gets an idea from the bold shapes of the jewelry of the royals. Inspired by a French monarch, she creates a necklace of multi-colored sapphires, spinels, kunzite. The focal point is a pearl pendant on yellow gold that could be used as  brooch.

“I noticed the Mughal royals wore a lot of pearls in their arms. I made my pearl necklace more wearable, it’s got diamonds in yellow gold and white gold,” she says. “Rubies were used in the royal courts. They’re very expensive but to modernize my pieces, I mixed rubelite, spinels and sapphires because they mimic the color of  rubies.”

The proportion of Dee’s jewelry matches with the maxi, this season’s skirt length. The green tourmaline teardrop earrings with diamonds in white gold can elongate a face. The huge orb-shaped cocktail ring made of pink sapphires, pink spinels and rubies that surround a red rubelite stone  complements the proportion of a long dress.

For versatility, the three-in-one cuff features a focal point made of pink sapphire, ruby, spinel and studded diamonds. It can be detached and used as  brooch or  pendant.

As gold gets more expensive, these designers are focusing on stones. “You save on costs with less metal work but not all designs can allow that,” says Dee.

(“Deux Yeux” will be launched on Nov. 11 at Firma Greenbelt 3. The event is sponsored by Ayala Malls, Belvedere Vodka and Kérastase Paris)