Asia’s jewellery market is clearly divided between high-end and mass market, with little else in between. But former Piaget managing director for Southeast Asia and Oceania, Eduardo Tartalo, and jewellery aficionado Cheryl Lee saw room for quality pieces that were reasonably priced.
And both took just shy of half a year to conceptualise their brand and bring it to life. As Lee describes, it was as if their lives were “on steroids”. Avyanna sends out its first collection this month with 30 pieces in 14K rose gold, which Tartalo calls “a universally beloved shade, compared to the perennial question of silver or gold”.
The modular necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings feature delicate and sweeping motifs, all drawn from ancient Nordic symbols. Each is ascribed an evocative name — resilience, grace, freedom — but the designs are universal enough to be left open to interpretation.
Lee and Tartalo want their brand to make a statement. Beyond just selling jewellery, Avyanna hopes to gather a community of like-minded women to share their victories, struggles and stories.
Says Lee: “We rejected the proposal to use influencers to promote our brand because I don’t feel anything for them, and their work doesn’t mean anything to me. I want to share Avyanna with women who inspire others and have a story to tell.”
These women, as opposed to vacuous-looking models, are the ones who appear in Avyanna’s lookbook. Some laugh into the camera until their eyes crinkle up; others mean-mug with a wink or smirk. By allowing women to freely express themselves while wearing designs by Avyanna, the brand seeks to empower women, adds Tartalo.
So what’s next? While Lee mentions Valentine’s Day, she would only let on: “We won’t be doing any hearts, that’s for sure!”
This story first appeared in the November 2019 issue of A.