Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My Past Projects - Crocodile Skin and Diamonds?

This was one of my projects that I started, before I joined the Jann Paul team.

During my school days, I wanted to do something different. Something that stands out in the crowd, that no one has done before. I came up with this idea, of combining 2 luxurious goods together. Leather and Jewelry. I wanted to pick the top quality in both materials, and ended up using Crocodile skin and Diamonds! This was where this project was born.

In the beginning, I was met with many obstacles. No one has ever done this fusion before, of combining crocodile skin and diamonds. I wanted to keep this affordable and used Sterling Silver as my base metal, and had it white gold re-plated (This was out of the norm, as no one has set diamonds on silver). Another problem, was how am I going to fuse all these elements together into a single piece?

I sourced my crocodile skins from Heng Long Pte Ltd. It's a locally listed company and are one of the top 5 crocodile skin tanneries in the world. They provide the highest quality crocodile skins and exported their leather to big brand names, such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Hermes, and luxurious watch brands. Recently, the company has been bought over by Louis Vuitton. 

The problem with crocodile skin, is that you can't use just a small piece. The beauty of crocodile skin is the patterning on the leather. In order to appreciate the crocodile skin, a wider surface area is needed. Thus, the ring has to be wide.

This was what I came up with..

You can still appreciate the detailing of the crocodile skin. I also added a diamond in the middle of the ring, giving it a bit of sparkle :) However, a down side of this design, is that the ring cannot be re-sized.  Also, notice the edges of the leather has to be covered by a border. This is where I "tuck" the leather skin, so that you won't be able to view any gaps. If you notice, most crocodile skin jewelry products (like bangles), have gaps between the skin and the metal. This is because, they cut the skin and glue the skin directly on top of the metal. As crocodile skin is an organic material, it is extremely difficult to cut it perfectly to fit its slot.

When I started, no crafter was able to fuse the crocodile skin and the ring together for me as this was never done before. So I had to make each piece individually, myself. 

And I later moved on to make a men's version, without the diamond.

This project was also a finalist, in the Lee Kwan Yew Business Plan Competition in 2006. It was also featured in the Business Times Newspaper. 

The crocodile skin diamond ring took off very well and I received good responses.
Although I managed to overcome most of the technical difficulties in the ring. One problem that remains is that Crocodile skins are not water proof. This means that whenever you wash your hands, you must remember to take off your ring! (which people always forget to do). When the ring comes in contact with soap or detergent, it ruins the crocodile skin. As a result, most people ended up wearing it as a necklace pendant. 

I hope you guys had a good read :)