Many still associate fine jewellery with formal events and ball gowns, but Afzal Imram and Lin Ruiyin, co-founders of Singapore-based contemporary jewellery label State Property want to change this perception. Instead of stashing gems away until the next special occasion calls for them, they hope more women – and men – will wear their fine pieces daily.
“Fashion is becoming a lot more casual and people are more forgiving about dress codes. This mood lends itself to jewellery as well,” says Afzal, 31. “We imagine a woman wearing our designs with a T-shirt and jeans.”
“We want to build things people will treasure and wish to pass down.”
Since the husband and wife duo launched their label in 2015, they have been steadily gaining a cachet of jewellery lovers around the world, including the likes of Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga. Aside from Singapore, the brand is currently stocked in online retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Goop and in physical stores in the US, the UK and Japan.
Architectural and sculptural – check out the interlocking links of its bestselling Inversion range – State Property’s accessories are made to fit comfortably against the curves of the human body. This unique aesthetic is born of their respective backgrounds. Lin, 30, who graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design with a first-class honours degree in jewellery design, conceptualises and designs the collections. Afzal, who trained in industrial design at the National University of Singapore, oversees the execution of smaller but essential details such as how different earrings fit.
It took them a few years to find their niche as fine jewellers, they say candidly. Before that, they designed broadly to fit into every price category. Eventually, they realised the longevity of fine bijoux suited their sensibilities better. “Using gold and precious gems means our pieces have innate value and wouldn’t be something people would want to dispose of. We want to build things people will treasure and wish to pass down,” says Lin.
While they were badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, sales have since bounced back and the business has been growing steadily compared to last year. It is perhaps a reflection of a “pent-up desire to shop”, they muse. Regardless, State Property is certainly giving customers a reason to spend. The latest Voyager collection includes bold signet rings, earrings and necklaces featuring cabochon emeralds and sapphires, and traditional enamelling techniques to evoke the radiating lines of a spaceship.
Inspired by the Voyager spacecraft, this is their ode to mankind’s love for exploration. “We wanted the jewellery to embody the spirit of adventure and curiosity of great adventurers,” Lin says.