The local jewellery specialist does it all — from creating and curating ready-to-wear fine jewellery and fashion accessories to offering bespoke and pre-owned pieces. More than that, Luxequisite also lend its support to social causes every year, most recently with the #Staywoke brooch for International Women’s Day 2021, which proceeds are donated to AWARE Singapore to aid victims of domestic abuse.
Ahead, founder Lydia Lim takes us through the bright, sparkling world of Luxequisite. Get your shades, you might need them.
Tell us the story behind Luxequisite. How did it come about?
It first started as a pain point of mine which eventually led me to the end goal of creating a one-stop product and service solution for consumers for anything jewellery-related. Luxequisite is a multi-brand (O2O) Online to Offline store that has a fine jewellery ready-to-wear line, bespoke services from design to finish, pre-owned for customers who are looking to liquidate and a fashion accessories brand called Sparkleinsider. I wanted to ensure that I can cater to all budgets and needs.
Think of us as a one-stop brokerage for existing jewellery houses and independent designers who might only launch collections once or twice annually with perhaps five to 10products. We curate products and act as an intermediary for jewellers who are trying to reach a different target audience who might find it too cumbersome to set up an e-commerce store for 20 products. Luxequisite offers scalability and access to masses with our website and selling omni-channel integration with other platforms. That way, we solve pain points for brick and mortar stores.
Did you always work with jewellery?
No. I have never worked with jewellery (prior to Luxequsite) and don’t come from a family with jewellery background either. However, jewellery has always been a big love of mine. Coupled with my attentive and super OCD/Virgo traits, I knew I could establish a difference in a traditional industry with high entry barriers by streamlining my operations to bring cost efficiency to customers.
How did you come up with this unique name?
Luxequisite is a play on the words “luxury” and “exquisite”. Out of a purely commercial standpoint, I needed a unique name that is easy to remember, English-centric, available to apply for IP patent filing and register for a .com domain as well as our socials. I created this name after bouncing off ideas with some friends.
Tell us more about the recently launched IWD capsule collection. Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
I don’t have a favourite piece because each piece is inspired in this capsule collection represents a woman’s exceptional value and inner strength. While the pink hues and intricate design work spells out the soft feminine nature of a woman, this collection also embodies the elemental strengths of diamonds and gold. By combining diamonds as the hardest known material in the world, along with the flexibility and durability of gold, this collection reflects resilience through its materials, how they withstand the most treacherous environments. It’s a testament to Luxequisite’s core values, which is that jewellery and women represent a great deal, and they carry significant meanings behind their existence. Beyond the charm and beauty, each woman, like jewellery, is full of character and complexities that cannot be defined with a single look.
Why did you choose to support victims of domestic violence and abuse in particular?
It seemed the most desperate. I haven’t come across any charity where the volume can rise 112% within 2 months. It is also terribly tough to forecast, unlike heart disease, cancer or other medical issues, which can be predicted based on variables like demographics, ageing population, and health trends. For domestic violence which is more of a “social issue”, it’s much harder to prepare for the worst when we don’t have enough data or money to support prior budgeting efforts.
Domestic violence is also something that is still considered a taboo to speak about and I want to use my voice, money and collective effort from friends to make a point. One of my own personal goals is to create a movement where it can potentially be scalable, starting with 40 people at the recent Luxequisite charity movement. The amount of work and effort to scale from 40 to 500 and eventually within the thousands isn’t very difficult. I am hoping that this could be an annual event with a low entry barrier, where anyone can join and show support.
Can you share more about your service in the pre-owned jewellery department?
We work similarly to most liquidators. However, our understanding of jewellery markets and buyer sentiment allows us to be more efficient. The process is pretty simple. You can bring in your jewellery for a valuation, negotiate a selling price in an auction or sale, laying down your objectives (for example, whether you’re happy to hold and wait for a year, or it needs to be flipped within days to weeks).
Tell us about the bespoke pieces you’ve worked on.
I do a lot of bespoke for clients who are looking to embark on a new phase in their life. My first few orders were typically re-designing and finishing products that were old heirlooms, or perhaps jewellery from an ex-partner that holds value but didn’t make sense to sell for cash. My clients are usually not in need of money but also realize the sentimental value of the current design that brings back too many painful memories.
Luxequisite uses our creative abilities to spin something ugly to a beautiful beginning. Of course, the margins wouldn’t be great since most of them arrive with the product and we merely perform a facelift, add-on or re-creation. However, I take pride in offering this as a service despite it not being the most lucrative. I like to make a difference in people’s lives and if I can do this with jewellery, why not?
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a family heirloom collection?
It really depends on their mandate and key objectives. If they are looking to keep it traditional, I would then suggest starting with the holy trinity of rubies, emeralds and sapphires, combined with diamonds. However, if they are going for stored value options then we would go very heavy with gold — chains, bangles, pendants, 916 to 999 yellow gold — since that is the most liquid metal available to the market.
Depending on their risk aversion, they can also “punt” on certain gemstones that are likely to rise in popularity such as fancy coloured sapphires, spinels, garnets, rubellites and tourmalines, just to name a few. It highly depends on the objective. If they want to keep it for generations to wear, I would suggest classic designs. We will make recommendations accordingly.
What is the one thing you’re sick of hearing about the jewellery business? Any myths or misconceptions that you’ll like to debunk?
Where do I even begin… One of the myths is that you need to be rich to be a collector. Anybody can collect and have fun with jewellery because it is something that makes you feel good and happy, like art. For ages, people always thought art collecting was for HNWIs, but take a look at Affordable Art Fair!
Another irritating one is that being a homegrown jewellery brand from Singapore is unsustainable because we don’t have natural resources, unlike our neighbours in Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and India. What many fail to remember is the value of the Singapore Dollar and proximity to our supply chain. The market is shifting and I’m just very lucky to be born in this era and to live a life where I can have a business doing what I love.
What are some of your favourite pieces from Luxequisite?
I love them all but definitely our fantasy collection speaks the most to me now. The array of colours and the accessibility (fine jewellery starting at $2,400) makes it easy for anyone who would like to collect fancy coloured gems. The bespoke pieces are my favourites, which I usually name after my clients. We love the process from getting to know them, creating a design brief, exploring options, stories, sourcing and finally bringing the product to life.
How does jewellery empower women?
I always believe that when you look good, you feel good. Retail therapy and jewellery are closely related, and since jewellery is a symbol of value — monetary and sentimental — this is my choice of poison for a quick pick-me-up. Forget alcohol, cars and high adrenaline sports. Jewellery is my thing and I’m sure many ladies can agree.
What is your jewellery style?
It depends on my mood and my budget, but it is safe to assume that my aesthetic is 80% girly girl, 10% athleisure chill and 10% edgy. You can expect to see many colours, fancy sapphires, diamonds and minimal gold. My skin colour and body type unfortunately doesn’t look very good with big metal pieces and bulky styles. I’m not blessed with Glamazon height or a lean body type.
More brands are creating unisex jewellery and for men. Are you looking to pursue that market sometime?
Oh yes! But for now it still remains mostly a bespoke thing. The day has yet to arrive where men prioritise jewellery over watches and cars but I’m waiting patiently!
(All images: Lydia Lim/Luxequisite)