Customising jewellery is a lost art, says La Putri's second-generation boss

Sheila Chiang
Lifestyle contributor
Goh Ying Li, La Putri's creative director. (PHOTO: La Putri)

SINGAPORE – The name La Putri was unfamiliar to many until Crazy Rich Asians’ actress Constance Lau, who played the socialite Celine, was selected by Vanity Fair as the Best-Dressed at the movie’s Hollywood premiere. She was wearing a pair of white jade earrings by the bespoke couture jeweller.

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The 46-year-old brand hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and counts royalty such as the Queen of Malaysia as its patrons, and customers know of their business through word-of-mouth. They have also customised pieces for Singaporean celebrities.

There is only one boutique in Singapore and it is in Mandarin Gallery. It also has only one boutique in Malaysia, located in Kuala Lumpur’s Pavilion shopping mall. 

You can shop for ready-to-wear pieces from their collection or you may arrange an appointment with their in-house designers for a personalised bespoke service.

Interior of the La Putri Mandarin Gallery boutique. (PHOTO: La Putri)

Opening a gemstone shop among many goldsmiths

Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, Goh Ying Li, the founder’s daughter, who is also the brand’s creative director, said that her mother first started La Putri in 1973 because back then, jewellery was mostly traditional gold jewellery and there were not many gemstone shops.

“When she first started, she was one of the first few who introduced jewellery that is not Chinatown-esque gold jewellery. Over the years, we evolved with fashion, and with today’s lifestyle, occasions to wear big, statement jewellery are quite limited, so we do a lot of multi-functional pieces where you can recreate them into different looks to suit different occasions. I think that has evolved simply because of customer needs,” said Goh, who was at the Mandarin Gallery store for a press event. 

(PHOTO: Sheila Chiang/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

One-off pieces that are multi-purpose

La Putri’s jewellery pieces are very exclusive, with each piece being a one-off design so you don’t have to worry about donning the same jewellery as someone else!

Their versatile jewellery collection can be worn in multiple ways and for multiple purposes, encouraging upcycling and sustainable fashion.

Think brooches that double up as necklace pendants, or earrings with interchangeable casings that take you from day to night effortlessly. One piece, many occasions. 

That’s not all – you can also bring in your old jewellery such as heirloom pieces and transform them into fresh and new pieces, or add gemstones to them, completely giving them a new lease of life.

Gemstones are sourced mostly from Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and then sent to gemstone cutters who are based in Bangkok, Thailand.

You can wear this set of rings two ways – stack them together or wear them separately. (PHOTO: Sheila Chiang/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Customising jewellery is ‘a lost art’

Back in the olden days, people used to go to the dressmaker to tailor-make their clothes. Nowadays, very few people do so. 

“In those days, with gemstone jewellery, you would have the tradition to go the jeweller to customise your jewellery. But today, most jewellers do not bother with that anymore, it is a lost art. Because it is a process, it takes a long time, and it is a skill to communicate with the customer and understand the customer’s requirement. Most jewellers do not want to have to go through that whole process because it is time-consuming, you require different expertise, you require engaging with your customer, versus a quick sale. So not many jewellers are willing to continue that tradition. But we have been doing it for a long time. It is something that makes our customer base strong,” said Goh.

La Putri is located at Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, #02-15, Singapore 238897.

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