Apart from heading the business operations of one of the oldest family-owned jewellery brands, Jean Nasr wears other hats: that of gemmologist and designer. We chat with the Singapore-based managing director of Mouawad, and find out what you need to know about the brand’s bespoke business.
5 Minutes With... Managing Director of Mouawad, Jean Nasr
The jewellery world has in recent years seen a sharp increase in the demand for one-of-a-kind, unique creations. Jean Nasr, the Singapore-based managing director of Mouawad, attributes this spike to the individualistic nature of people, who constantly seek exclusivity and want to be different. Today, bespoke work represents 40 per cent of Mouawad’s business in Singapore. He notes that in terms of trends, women are more willing to experiment with different colours and designs.
“I am the luckiest person on earth. I get to play with stones like a kid in a candy store,” Nasr declares. He has seen an increasing demand for coloured stones, from garnets to tsavorites and tanzanites. When I sit down with him at his Palais Renaissance boutique, he produces tray after tray of candy-coloured rocks, from soft pastel tones to vivid hues that he has personally sourced. Having been in the business for many years, he has an infinite knowledge about the world of jewellery and has an eye for colour, quality and rarity. The stones are all cut in-house, which gives Nasr flexibility to explore a wide design portfolio.
Know your gems
Not all stones are created equal, and even within each varietal, two stones of the same weight might have differing values, based on colour and rarity. From the tray of rainbow-coloured rocks, Nasr handpicks the rarer ones: a Paraíba tourmaline (a neon-blue stone that is typically found in Paraíba in northeastern Brazil or Mozambique) in a beautiful sea-green colour that is four times the price of a normal Paraíba. He also shows us the “traffic light” earrings, a pair that features three unusual stones of the same shape, facet, and intensity and depth of colour: pink spinel, unheated Fanta mandarin garnet and a grossularite (a mint-coloured tsavorite that’s extremely rare). Says Nasr, “The entry to investing in coloured stones is high. People don’t want the piece of jewellery to halve in value. They will want to buy stones knowing that the value will appreciate in time, or at least will be able to be sold at the price they were bought at.”
Nasr is constantly sketching, he tells us, and says that on the days he feels particularly creative, he comes to the office in casual wear, and spends all his time allowing his creative juices to flow. He enjoys the process of working closely with his customers, in the creation of a “special design”.
Size does not matter
Apart from crafting intricate baubles, Mouawad can also create elaborate objets d’art for its well-heeled clientele. These objets d’art are often precious mementoes of special moments, and Nasr himself is involved in the creation process. He tells us about a couple that collected shells on their diving trips. They wanted something special crafted, and the result was a decorative object that focused on the shells and other marine materials like coral.