Jade is a stunning and one-of-a-kind gemstone with extraordinary surface morphology. Some societies, particularly in the Far East, regard the gem as a divine material. However, many people in Asia (particularly among the youngsters), may be unfamiliar with jade stone. Because knowledge, understanding and demand for premium jade are fairly low, even industry experts may be unsure how to accurately assess or identify the gem.
But Singaporean jeweller and founder of Gen.K Jewelry, Genevie & Kayde Yeo hopes to alter that. With its momentous branding, the sister duo vow to “educate and emphasise the customers that grade A Jade traits are what make the stone unique,” and how the brand chooses to only use the finest jadeite to enhance conventional jewellery.
Genevie Yeo, CEO and Founder of Gen. K Jewelry & Kayde Yeo, Chief Designer of Gen.K Jewelry and grade A Jade stone expert, was gracious enough to sit down for an interview. We talked about their company, the characteristics of jade stone, and the best way to style them.
Let’s start by introducing the readers a little bit about yourself?
Genevie: I started making jewellery as a hobby from the skills I picked up from my sister Kayde, who majored in Jewelry Design & Silversmithing from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. I loved it so much that I continued making jade jewellery pieces even though I was holding a full-time job. Eventually, I decided to display my creations at local craft bazaars like the Public Garden Consumer Trade Show, where I slowly built a following
Within a year, I opened up my first physical retail store in a shared shop house located at Seah Street with Kayde, who had her own plus-size fashion label, Kaylene Plus Size Designer Boutique. We subsequently moved Gen. K Jewelry to our own full shopfront at Pacific Plaza. Our business has since expanded, and we have relocated our flagship store to our current premises at Capitol Singapore.
Has it always been a dream of yours to venture in a family business?
When I first started Gen.K Jewelry in 2014, it was a leap of faith. And what I did was start my business small to avoid getting into any form of debts. I believe in working around my means and managing all sorts of work by myself until much later where I got my very first staff on board, and the team eventually grew. And then decided to bring my sister, Kayde, on board full-time as Chief Designer in 2020.
So how did your love affair with jewellery begin?
Our love affair with the jade stone began when our mother passed down a pair of matching jade rings from her collection. We’ve always been a fan of intricate jewellery and always looked for one-of-a-kind pieces. Back in those days, we had never seen jade designed with such modernity. Since then, we have been intrigued with this style of jewellery and have since built on our passion to modernise this gem, which was once labelled as ‘old-fashioned’.
Gen.K Jewelry designs are heavily influenced by type A jade stones. Can you tell us more about that?
At Gen. K Jewelry, we take pride in procuring and working only with natural, untreated Type A Jade. This refers to jade stones that have not been treated with any artificial treatment, except surface waxing. Our creations are designed to work around the natural colour and texture of the jade. As it is a natural stone, there could be visible marks of green veins, natural white clouds or at times, brown or yellow spots, which are natural composites from nature.
While some may think that these are non-desirable traits of jade stones, we often educate and emphasise to customers that these traits are what makes jade unique, especially when it is untreated by artificial colours or treatments. The selection of gemstones and the choice of precious metal (rose gold, yellow gold or white gold) used to compliment our jade designs becomes extremely crucial to create pieces that are pleasing to the eye.
As an expert, what’s the easiest way to tell if the jade stone is real or imitation?
There is no easy way to tell if the jade is real or imitation just by using the naked eye. But at Gen. K Jewelry, we always want to be 100% sure. We always advocate getting help from a professional, as these certified gemological institute specialists will then have the right equipment and procedures to test the authenticity of the jade. We work very closely with these gemological institutes to have jade checked and certified.
Tell us one of the biggest misconceptions about working in the jewellery industry?
One of the misconceptions is that running a jewellery business and entering the industry is easy. With so many gemstones and technical back-end in this niche industry, this business requires us to constantly update ourselves and keep up-to-date on the latest happenings in the trade in order to stay ahead of the curve.
What’s your favourite way to style jade stone jewellery?
The thing about Gen. K Jewelry’s jewellery pieces are actually really versatile. Picture yourself wearing a simple button-up shirt paired with jeans, and putting on our Candylicious Emerald-Cut Jade Ring with red-painted manicured nails. You will be surprised how the jade wearer will exude an additional boost of confidence!
What advice do you give customers when it comes to choosing their ‘’signature jewellery’’?
To choose their jade jewellery based on their personal style preferences. We will usually ask them about their personality – if they are someone who is loud and flamboyant or someone who likes to wear things that’s simple and sways towards the minimalistic style. Having to wear something they truly love is important, as that signature jewellery will hold a meaningful story behind it.