Personal stories can live forever – in a diamond

WHILE Facebook or LinkedIn may now be the go-to platform to chronicle all of our favourite personal stories – an engagement, the birth of a child, the memory of a grandparent, or the celebration of a business achievement – The Guild of Storytellers (GoS), a local startup, wants to buck this social media trend.

Founded last December by Singaporean Jason Ho, GoS wants to cast these memories in stone – literally. It designs and makes bespoke jewellery – from rings and pendants to sceptres and even crowns – to tell a story.

“Memories are precious, and I would like to use something more tangible to remember our stories,” the 34-year-old founder told The Business Times.

“Think of it as a modern heirloom made of the world’s most precious stone and metal – diamond and gold – that will retain our most precious and timeless memories, and which is also inflation proof,” said Mr Ho.

The business consultant turned accredited, professional jeweller had conceptualised GoS while studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in 2014.

Today, GoS collaborates with 15 jewellery designers – each with a distinct style and cultural background – from Europe and the US, as well as three veteran craftsmen and several diamond cutting plants in Gujarat, India. This, while it hosts customers from a penthouse-level showroom at Suntec City, Singapore.

The final masterpiece, the customisation of which will take some 12 weeks, will be collected on board one of the startup’s three private yachts at Sentosa Cove on which customers can spend half a day thereafter.

Notably, customers must have been referred to GoS and have a personal story to share.

Said Mr Ho: “They should not come to us to just buy top-quality jewellery. We’re providing a once-in-a-lifetime, three-month experience to co-design and produce your bespoke jewellery from scratch. We accept requests for a wide range of challenging jewellery designs as long as they tell every detail of a story.”

Globally, the bespoke jewellery market, while not new, is largely fragmented, noted Mr Ho. “In Europe, a jewellery designer can design but lacks experience in crafting. In Asia, a goldsmith or craftsman can craft, but lacks the creativity needed for design. Globally, there is a lack of reliable channels to source the best diamonds and gemstones.”

He said: “Everything in one house is our answer to the current gap in the industry.”

The startup, which Mr Ho himself funded, is now in the midst of speaking with prospective customers from the region. Prices begin at S$40,000 for a one-carat piece.

Last December, GoS was featured in Cambridge’s 10th anniversary celebration of its Center of Entrepreneurial Learning, and is believed to be the only Singaporean and Chinese name among 18 enterprises.

Other bespoke jewellers in Singapore include Facets Singapore, Joanne L. and The Jewel Box, which, like GoS, were conceived to service what they say is an increasingly discerning and sophisticated clientele.

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