Malaysian fine jewellery brand SUEN recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary. We sit down for a chat with founder Lee Sze Suen on the milestone, and what jewellery trends are hot in 2021.

It’s no surprise that many people reserve their finest jewellery pieces for only the most special of occasions. But life is short and we only go out for a handful of special occasions. Why not get fine jewellery that can be worn on a daily basis, then?

Lee Sze Suen is the founder of SUEN Jewellers.

In fact, we’re seeing this practice become a trend within high jewellery houses. You have your Clash de Cartier pieces that are edgy yet luxe, perfect to accessorise with your daily outfits. Then there’s the Tiffany & Co. Tiffany T collection that’s minimal and perfect for daily wear too. Basically, fine jewellery pieces for everyday wear is becoming a thing, and SUEN agrees.

Alongside this trend, gold jewellery is also making a comeback, as is chunky jewellery inspired by the 80s, remade for more contemporary tastes. We speak to Lee on what jewellery trends Malaysians love, as well as her 10-year milestone with SUEN.

Congratulations on SUEN reaching the 10 year mark! How has the journey been, especially with the stiff competition in Malaysia?

It has been a very encouraging journey with stories of growth for both the company and myself personally. When we first opened, I was in a complete daze, overwhelmed by life and many other responsibilities at the time. Thankfully, I had and still have an amazing team who helped put a lot into place and build this business.

We’ve had wonderful customers that have supported us through thick and thin, even offering business perspectives and financial advice. Over the years, the business and industry have had its share of ups and downs naturally. We continuously learn and experience adaptation and resilience in business.

Till today, I am ever grateful to all the people who put their trust in my ability and I realise I would not be enjoying this milestone if not for them. Looking ahead, I love and enjoy what I do and hope to continue but perhaps at a slower pace.

Let’s dive more into SUEN. In the past 10 years, how have you seen the trend with fine jewellery styles change?

People are well travelled these days, and with the connectivity of the world through media and social media, consumers are really savvy, especially when it comes to making large purchases. Nowadays, consumers focus not only on the aesthetics of a product but also its quality and whether it was ethically produced

The trends have swayed over the years to stylish classics and easy to wear pieces that can go from day to night. With everyone leading such busy lifestyles nowadays, they tend to look for jewellery that can be worn all day. Many of our clients love the fact that they can travel with just one or two sets of jewellery. In the end, jewellery is all about accessorizing to complete or complement an outfit.

The Tennis Bracelet.

Gold is also coming back into style, with pieces like our “paperclip” and bold chunky chains being a hit recently. Across the years, regardless of trends, the classics like the diamond tennis bracelets, diamond studs, trinity rings that signify the past, present and future remain a favourite as they never go out of style.

Are diamonds still as coveted as it used to be? We’ve seen more interest in coloured precious stones and pearls of late — is it also reflected amongst Malaysian clients?

Diamonds will never lose their shine. We still love bling but beyond that, they hold much sentimental value and are also symbols of both status and tradition.

In saying that, we believe that thanks to increased accessibility, customers are looking for variety, which is where collectables and other gems come in to complete the picture. 

We’ve always catered to a niche clientele and it’s been easy for us to adapt and react to the changes in trends. Personally, I love seeing the evolution of trends around the globe. Researching and being able to discuss ideas with clients, some of who have shown me wonderful pictures is amazing. When designing we always have our clients in mind and aspire to produce pieces that would best fit them. 

Precious stones aside, what style of jewellery is a favourite amongst the younger Malaysian clientele?

Younger clientele generally like stylish, non-fussy styles in jewellery, and are attracted to sleek, clean lines with simple settings as these styles give them the freedom to stack or layer their jewellery, from necklaces to bracelets and even rings. 

Among our younger clientele, our classic diamond jewellery like the tennis bracelets, diamond studs, and half eternity rings in smaller carat weights are extremely popular when it comes to adding a bit of sparkle to any outfit whilst also being perfect for stacking with other types of jewellery, due to their versatility. 

Last year we launched a small diamond mosaic collection that was very popular for their bold and interesting design that again, can be worn from day to night. 

Our SUEN Candy collection which featured many different candy-coloured gemstones was also very well-received, allowing our customers to be a bit more playful and experimental with how they wear jewellery.

More recently, FOPE debuted its flagship store in your boutique. Do you feel that this will ring in a new era of women wearing everyday fine jewellery instead of just keeping it for special occasions?

With FOPE’s style of everyday contemporary luxury, FOPE is a godsend to many stylish women who seek simplicity and ease of wear in stylish yet timeless jewellery. 

FOPE’s 18-carat gold stretchable bracelets with pave diamonds.

 

Their patented Flex’It technology has revolutionised the way fine jewellery is worn, and their wide range of pieces caters to women from all walks of life. These women successfully wear multiple hats within a single day, looking for jewellery fit for every occasion, which is why FOPE is perfect for their needs. 

FOPE’s signature Novecento gold mesh chain present throughout their refined collections has blossomed from a timeless classic into a true icon worldwide and it has been a delight to see how our customers style their FOPE pieces by injecting their own personality into the way they wear them.

Finally, what are your predictions on fine jewellery trends in Malaysia for 2021?

There is a clear shift towards stylish fine jewellery for day-to-day wear, simpler pieces and stone variety. Many clients come to us with pictures of what they like and that really helps us to understand the diverse styles that appeal to them.

I truly appreciate the fact that customers today are exposed to different styles and get an immense sense of satisfaction when I see a beautiful gem or a piece of jewellery, even more so if the jewellery is produced by us. I’m excited to see what comes next! 

Find out more about SUEN’s jewellery pieces here.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.