Cover Tiffany & Co Colors of Nature necklace set with green tourmalines and sapphire, ring set with tanzanite, and bracelet set with blue sapphire and diamonds. Dior shirt, stylist’s own gloves

A romantic relationship that did not begin until this year, this jewellery enthusiast has found Tiffany & Co’s bejewelled creations alluring and irresistible

When researching and doing pre-production work for this issue of Jewels & Time, the team at Tiffany & Co floated the possibility of profiling “an interesting and new personality” to me. The personality in question was Indonesian entrepreneur Nina Kaginda, who currently resides in Singapore. What stood out to me was her relationship with the brand—Kaginda had only recently developed her penchant for the American jeweller’s creations.

The prospect of having first dibs on featuring a new face on the cover is every editor’s dream—especially one with a fresh perspective on what’s a well-loved brand that’s long been familiar to millions. What’s so special about her, I ask?

My questions were duly answered. Fast forward to the day of the photoshoot, and a petite lady with a perfect complexion and near-immaculate make-up strode quietly into the studio. “Morning,” she greeted everyone on set in an almost shy manner. She sat down in the chair at the dressing area and started a deep but strangely quiet conversation with hairstylist Marc Teng and make-up artist Bobbie Ng. Is she going to be one of those shy personalities who pose awkwardly in front of the camera, I thought to myself? But the ice was broken when we asked her if she would like a small bite before the photoshoot commenced. “Fashionistas don’t eat, no?” she said in her mild American accent with just the slightest hint of Bahasa Indonesia before breaking into peals of laughter. 

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WHO WHERE WHAT

If the camera was the north pole of a magnet, then Kaginda must be the south pole because there was an instant attraction. Her poses were natural and confident, and she knew the angles that worked best for her. The high jewellery pieces from the Tiffany & Co Blue Book 2021 collection, which were brought in specifically for a private showcase in August this year, only served to further accentuate her sharp features and make her look even more sophisticated.

As the camera flash went off with each snap, I wondered: just who is Nina Kaginda?

“I am a proud mother of two lovely sons—the eldest is already 13,” she shared with me as she showed a family photo with the boys towering over her. Her family relocated from Jakarta to Singapore two years ago; the decision had been catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Uprooting the family from her motherland was not easy but she declared that she had to do “what’s best for [her] family’s welfare”.

“My sons have adjusted well. It’s been almost two years and I’ve not looked back since—I sincerely love the environment here, which I’ve come to embrace with all my heart,” said the entrepreneur, whose business portfolio includes various investments in the food and beverage sector in Jakarta. Besides a self-professed love for food and cooking, Kaginda also admits that she has a “strong penchant for art, jewellery and fashion”.

“You can tell just looking at my Instagram feed!”

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A LOVE AFFAIR BLOSSOMS

Unlike most jewellery enthusiasts, her love story with Tiffany & Co did not start decades ago. Neither did her parents gift her a tennis bracelet at her coming-of-age party. In fact, she only acquired her first purchase from the brand early this year.

“I’ve known Tiffany & Co for a long time—I mean who wouldn’t—and it is easily one of the most recognised jewellery brands around. Unfortunately, I did not have much personal affinity prior,” she explained.

“The intention to explore the brand’s rich heritage, which it is palpably known for, was thus lacking on my part. But better late than never, right?”

Tiffany’s iconic robin-egg blue packaging is also culturally significant. This, coupled with the brand’s history of fine craftsmanship, was what drew her to take her first step in getting to know the brand. Being a lover of trends, she admits that she likes it that Tiffany “is an integral part of pop culture, with references in classic movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, at present, a beloved red-carpet accessories companion among Hollywood’s elite”.

Calling them the “perfect balance of elegance with just the right amount of edge”, she is very much head over heels with her yellow gold earrings and matching necklace from the brand’s Hardwear collection. “I see them as a co-ordinated look as both enhance a bold and modern character that I strongly resonate with.” Of course, she is all thumbs-up for the shopping experience at Tiffany & Co. “I have been a convert ever since then.”

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JOURNEY INTO HAUTE JOAILLERIE

For someone to make a Hardwear creation as her first acquisition from the brand, one can make a rough guess as to Kaginda’s preferred aesthetics. Clearly, she likes modern yet avant-garde designs, sculptural creations that stand out for the right reasons and is adventurous enough to go for the unconventional. This also explains why she has a personal preference for French designer Jean Schlumberger’s creations for Tiffany.

“He’s renowned for his fantastical creations infused with wit and curiosity. He also stuns with his ability to transform nature’s wonders into objects of mesmerising beauty, and work strong, sculptural designs into magnificent bejewelled statements,” she says, like a true aficionado with an expertise in the subject matter.

“Of all the recent masterpieces which I’ve seen in the flesh during the Blue Book event in August, I was most captivated by his iconic brooch, Bird on the Rock.”

So attracted to Schlumberger’s arguably most famous creation of all time that Kaginda decided to invest in one for herself.

“My Bird on the Rock would be deemed a purchase of great personal value due to its significance and how it resonates with me,” she says about her pièce unique clip. Beaming like a proud parent—the same expression she had when she spoke about her boys—she says: “Cherished by women who know how to appreciate good design, this clip beautifully displays only the very finest jewels and can triple-up as a brooch, pendant and headband piece.”

Only a woman who views jewellery as an art form and not just a pretty and glittery fashion accessory will say that. And Kaginda is definitely such a woman.

  • PhotographyGan
  • StylingJoey Tan
  • Make-UpBobbie Ng at the Make Up Room Using Mac
  • HairMarc Teng using IGK
  • Photographer's AssistantSamsidi
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