While colored gemstones and semiprecious stones, large earrings and fluid lines are hot this year, jewelers Kristine Dee and Paul Syjuco are following a bigger trend: individuality.
Unlike their florid, organic and nostalgic designs of the past, the duo is going back to clean lines and restrained color, the hallmarks of timeless elegance.
Tomorrow, Oct. 15, they will present their seventh trunk collection, dubbed “Linia,” at The Gallery of Peninsula Manila.
“The theme is our return to where we started, but with improvement, as we have learned many lessons over the years,” says Dee, a graduate of industrial design at the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York.
“In my first exhibit, my pieces were stark and industrial, too modern that people couldn’t appreciate it,” she points out, referring to her use of angular designs, profusion of metals, wires and geometric tubes, typical of industrial design. “The designs were severe. Although they were sculptural, the market wasn’t ready for them.”
She has since developed softer feminine designs, injected with colored stones. “My clients are always looking for them,” she notes.
Syjuco, who attended the Gemological Institute of America, follows the modernist aesthetic of “less is more.”
He keeps the lines as unfussy as possible, and his monotone palette is derived from diamonds, pearls and rose and white gold.
“It’s the practice of distilling ideas. We don’t oversimplify —just make things with more impact. Diamonds make more sense when set against simple lines. They are highlighted,” he says.
For this collection, straight lines, angles, subtle accents of color make for high-impact yet timeless design.
Dee’s 15-year-old mesh cuff is updated as a lacy cutwork of white and yellow gold with a pavé of diamonds. Unlike the rigid design of the past, the rebooted version is asymmetric and hugs the wrist.
Uneven tennis bracelet
Her necklace looks like a mobile with purple and mandarin garments suspended on a diamond-studded furrow.
Syjuco focuses on volume and lines rather than color. A single bangle that resembles an uneven tennis bracelet is striking in white gold.
The elongated earrings are emphasized by a straight line of prong-set diamonds. A square ring is left open-ended; the narrow side is dotted with emerald-cut diamonds, while the wider side is filled with pavé diamonds.
Dee and Syjuco have produced some pieces that reflect this year’s trend of a layering effect built into the design to add volume and diversity.
Dee’s necklace consists of three delicate diamond-studded chains with variations on abstractions of the mother and child perched on pavé diamond-encrusted seesaws.
The mother-and-child series consists of circles made of blue chalcedony, blue sapphire and red spinels. Her ring utilizes overlapping cubes.
Syjuco’s bangle is a tier of diamond-studded wires with gleaming South Sea pearls. A set of earrings and rings is designed with stackable wirework with pavé and marquis diamonds.
“The reality is that not everybody is a minimalist,” he says. “The challenge is striking a balance between design and the client’s request. When I started, my design was too stark—all metal and pure forms. Now there is embellishment. I use more diamonds to make it feminine.”
Ultimately, their designs are less formal, more adaptable for day-to-night wear.
“The design should be wearable,” says Dee. She observes that her clients are always looking for colored stones, hence, the bold contrasts of colors.
“Filipino women are romantic. They like floral, paisleys, nature and more elaborate designs. I still follow my gut,” she adds.
“The market is more discerning,” says Syjuco. “With Instagram, they can see new designs instantly. We’re designers, not artists. We listen to what they need and find solutions for them. Still, we inject more of ourselves and do what we feel like.”
The collection may be viewed at Aum Jewels Peninsula and TriNoma and Firma Greenbelt 3 after the launch.
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