With travel still far below pre-pandemic levels, vintage gem specialist Brenda Kang came up a novel way to offer her clients access to unique bijoux. Last September, the founder of Revival Jewels curated an exhibition of four of the world’s leading artist-jewellers – JAR, Bhagat, Hemmerle and Forms HK – at her Wheelock Place boutique.
“I have admired these contemporary jewellers for many years. With our clients unable to travel, many were keen to experience something different in Singapore. They had seen some of these jewellers’ creations in auction catalogues or on Instagram and love what they do, but never had a chance to try them on,” says Kang, who spent 15 years at auction house Christie’s as a jewellery specialist before opening Singapore’s only vintage jewellery store to date.
These ateliers were chosen as they offer the type of rare, collectible and wearable jewels that Revival curates. “They have excellent craftsmanship and a strong design aesthetic that is often inspired by vintage gems but with a contemporary, edgy identity. I believe these four houses will be highly sought after for collectible vintage jewellery in the future,” she says.
An overwhelming response to the exhibition led to more sales than even Kang anticipated. She also organised an online talk with jewellery historian Vanessa Cron, so clients could learn more about investing in collectible jewellery.
Since the pandemic, interest and demand for vintage pieces have increased significantly, Kang says. “International jewellery houses are spending more money highlighting their heritage pieces, which in turn increases the demand for rare and hard to find pieces by top designers,” she continues.
Before the pandemic, most of her business was conducted outside Singapore. But over the past two years, her local client base has grown quite organically. She says, “Younger clients love the idea of vintage engagement rings as they are a sustainable purchase. They also see them as a store of wealth that also serve as wearable works of art to lift their spirits.”