Most of us probably share the same impression of jade jewellery, often dismissing it as old-fashioned and outdated.
Before I met the owner of Gen.K Jewelry, that was me too. But I have since altered my view thanks to their modern twist on the ornamental mineral.
The store sits on the second floor of Pacific Plaza, and it is impossible to miss with its brightly-lit interior.
It boasts a clean and minimalistic set-up that conceals a small workshop behind.
Genevie, the founder and designer of Gen.K Jewelry showed me some products around her store before sitting down with me for a chit-chat on her brand and how it came to be.
For her basic and also most affordable ring series (S$148), you start your customisation by picking out a jade ring in your size. Jade, being a naturally occurring mineral, manifests in many different shades of green, ivory and even lilac, so no two rings are the same!
Gen explained that jade is segregated into four different grades from A to D, and it’s important to her to always go for grade A jade to ensure that it hasn’t undergone chemical treatment or bleaching.
She took me through the process of crafting a silver band over the jade ring, starting with some pulling and bending.
Pliers are used to manipulate the bands due to their intricate nature. The bands also come in different textures, but the ones used here provide the most grip and are the easiest to work with.
Once it’s done, Gen uses the same pair of pliers to snip off the excess band. She then uses a sandpaper to sand out all the rough edges, ensuring that it doesn’t cut her customers.
And finally, the ring is given a good wipe to reveal its shine before slipping it on her fingers to make sure it’s comfortable.
Ta-da! Here are the finished products, aren’t they gorgeous?
For the minimalist, there are stud pieces like the Berlyn Round Petal (S$388), featuring an elegant motif embellished on the jade earrings.
Or choose from a selection of eye-catching ones, such as the Edgy Earrings (S$338), for those who want that Lady Gaga-twist.
Gen’s fully aware that there are many who easily grow tired of their pieces, which stops them from spending exorbitant amounts on jewellery.
That’s why she designed this detachable two-piece that can be worn two ways. On dress-down days, you may want to leave the jade piece behind. Or wear them both when attending an important function.
Gen isn’t superstitious, and neither does she advocate the beliefs that are often tagged to gemstones.
But she shared with me that interestingly, many have been purchasing this piece and wearing it during their mahjong sesh because of the luck that the Citrine gemstone is believed to bring.
The Princess Crown Ring (S$358) is one of their most popular designs, and with the variation that you can find, there’s surely one for every woman.
If you don’t dig the jade, it’s also customisable to gold or rose gold, as this guy did for his girlfriend.
This beauty is one of the most expensive items in store, with a hefty price tag of S$4,688. You’ll understand why when you realise that it’s adorned with nothing short of diamonds and Morganite, a semi-precious gemstone.
Gen told me that it’s popularly used as an engagement ring so ladies, here’s your chance to share this article to drop some hints.
Jade is a relatively fragile stone and can break easily. But Gen’s got us covered on that — she has designed ring jackets that encapsulate the ring for an added layer of protection in the event of hard contact.
This is how it looks like when worn. I asked if her customers find that the jacket interferes with the aesthetics of the jade ring, to which she replied that on the contrary, many find it more enhancing than anything else.
Men don’t need to feel left out with these Jade Cufflinks (S$398) specially catered for Gen’s male customers (or simply those who accompany their wives on their shopping hauls).
There are bolder statement pieces like this Black Onyx Character Ring too (I feel like it speaks to my inner goth).
We sat down for a chit-chat, and here are some questions that Gen was happy to answer:
Gen obviously stands for my name, Genevie, but many people wonder what the “K” stands for. K is actually for Kayde, my sister who’s my mentor in jewellery crafting. She graduated from NAFA with a diploma in fine jewellery design, and she was the one who actually encouraged me to start my own jewellery business. She now has her own brand, Kaylene, that sells apparel for plus-sized women.
Of course, the financial aspect wasn’t easy; everyone knows that it’s not easy to start a business these days. I made sure to take calculated steps, and only to spend on areas really necessary. But one area that I’m really particular about is the way we address our customers. I take extra care in educating and nurturing my staff, and stress that it’s not just about selling our products, but also building relationships with them too.
It all started when my sis and I both got a pair of matching jade rings from my mother, and we began to appreciate jade. My sister also used to work with the late Kate Reyes, who owned a modern jade label herself called “Elizabeth Kate”, back in early 2000. It was through that that we realised that jade can be made contemporary too.
We mostly see working ladies; those getting married; and older women in their 50s too, who can afford to splurge more. We also have some male customers who are few and far between.
Personally, I like the Mother And Child Bee Ring (S$398) which has a really special meaning behind it. It was inspired by my first born, whom I had trouble conceiving due to the stress from my previous job. So when I was expecting him, I designed this to celebrate a mother’s love for her child.
I also really love the Wishing Tree Necklace (S$468) because of its symbolism. It represents staying grounded even in adversity and seeing the fruits like happiness, love and forgiveness that you reap after it all.
(This question pretty much answered itself when I saw her donning rings and earrings from her brand) Absolutely, I love jade jewellery and I love switching things up too.
The next time you’re looking for a gift for that special someone or just something novel to treat yourself with, be sure to keep Gen.K Jewelry in mind! With such beautiful pieces like these, jade is not far off from making a comeback.
Prices: S$148 – S$4,688