Local luxury jeweller Flower Diamond has designed pieces for the likes of superstars such as Madonna, Sophia Loren, Naomi Campbell, Faye Dunaway and Joan Collins. Over the years, its customised creations have adorned a gilded clientele that includes aristocrats.
As the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, we sat down with its founder, Belinda Chua, to find out about her more interesting commissions – including a pair of fully encrusted diamond gloves and pendants made for the famous (or infamous, depending on your views) British supermodel and the original Material Girl herself.
It’s not every day that you get to bejewel a pop icon and one of the world’s most recognisable supermodels. What’s the story behind those pieces gifted to Madonna and Naomi Campbell?
I can’t share all the names of my royal clients, but the one I can mention is the late Prince Azim of Brunei, who became a dear friend over the years. I am still saddened whenever I think of his death. He was creative, fun and loved jewellery more than I do! He had friendships with many celebrities, and Madonna and Naomi Campbell just happened to be two of them. When he loved people, he was very generous, and what Flower Diamond usually created together with him was commemorative, celebration pieces.
Who are some of your famous clients? What are the more interesting pieces you’ve created for them?
I’m sorry I can’t share the details of my clients due to privacy issues, but I can tell you about one of the most interesting pieces that have been commissioned. Flower Diamond was asked to make a pair of fully-encrusted diamond gloves for a pair of royal sisters – one side for each sister. The challenge was to make the gloves malleable, soft and comfortable to wear, while ensuring that each of the 757 & 353 diamonds on each glove was securely fastened. Through a lot of planning and analysis with our expert craftsmen, we eventually made this piece a reality.
Walk us through the process of customising a piece. What’s the price range for such creations by Flower Diamond?
The process is usually a very intimate and exclusive one, where we spend time with the client to find out about their stone preferences and design intentions. Based on a comprehensive brief, we then begin the first sketch of a design. From there, a client works with us to refine the design until they are happy, and then we proceed to handmake the customised piece.
The entire process usually takes three months, but it can be shorter if a client knows exactly what she or he wants. The most extravagant piece of customised jewellery we’ve made was a necklace that featured a 170-carat emerald that cost over US$1m. But Flower Diamond welcomes clients with any kind of budget. Our duty is to give you the best piece of jewellery that you can afford. This is what has endeared us to many of our loyal clients over the years.
What are the biggest trends in customised jewellery to take note of? What sort of pieces do you get the most requests for?
One of the most requested types of jewellery we get is engagement rings. While the white diamond solitaire remains the most popular piece of jewellery, we are seeing a trend where women are opting for one large coloured centrepiece stone. We also get a lot of requests for customised jewellery that has deep meaning, for example, a pendant or ring that has all the birthstones of a woman’s children, or a matching necklace set for a pair of sisters or best friends.
What should we know about your new collection?
Our 25th anniversary collection revolves around two motifs that are close to the brand and my heart. One is the butterfly that has been our signature motif since 2002; and the other is the rose that represents Flower Diamond very well. The rose is well-loved, sweet-smelling and has an elegance about it, regardless of its colour. Our anniversary collection features these two feminine motifs in pieces that are innovative, unique and multifunctional.