Now that Christmas is around the corner, we are all going into the frenetic search for a cool present or something to impress our loved ones with. To that end, what could possibly fit the bill more than a splendid piece of unique and custom made jewellery?
Today’s interview of Asia Lounges’ owner and manager Simon Dussart may help you shed some light onto the sparkling world of gems and jewellery!
Simon: Hi Luxury Society Asia, thanks for inviting me today to talk about my company, AsiaLounges, and our services! First thing first, I’m a bit of an oddity to be honest. I am a French national, raised in Barcelona, Spain and have lived most of my adult life in Asia. I guess at that point that makes me a bit of a world citizen.
I was introduced to the world of gems and jewellery while I was in China some ten years ago. There I learned most of what I know from masters that used to work for people such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, Boucheron and Cartier. I worked alongside these master jewellers for about two years, between their workshop in mainland China and their purchase office in Hong Kong. There, I learned how to identify and grade gems, how to assess the quality of a piece of high jewellery, and how to use a loupe and a pair of tweezers in order to examine a gem.
It is with their guidance that I developed a taste for the exclusive art form that is jewellery making. Soon after that, I came back to Thailand and slowly made my way back to the gem trade after a couple of years off of it.
Now, 4 years after starting Asia Lounges, I am proud to say that we have made a name for ourselves in the industry that is synonymous of quality in both our gems and jewellery items.
Simon: Asia Lounges specializes in the making of bespoke jewellery. The way we work is usually as follows. A client comes to us with either an idea of jewellery or a particular colour in mind and we work from there.
We adapt ourselves to the budget of every client and advise them depending on their needs. Usually we talk about what colours they prefer, shape, cut and size they’re looking for. This discussion can also include walking the client through different gem materials and, treatments in order for them to get the best possible result for their budget. I’m always happy to help others learn more about gems and jewellery!
When we do not have the desired gem in store, we do everything we can to find it either in the local market or abroad. We really do go all the way to deliver world class products systematically to our clients.
So far, we 95% of our clients come back several times per year for more as they realise that they get amazing quality for every dollar spent.
Simon: Honestly it’s a difficult question to answer as everything is tailor made so we do not exactly have a standard price. I guess you could say that we charge somewhere around 30% of what an established brand would charge.
But to give your readers an idea, the majority of products we made range from 3000 usd to 10.000 usd. Again, though, there isn’t really limitation of prices in what we do. There are a few variables that we cannot really move, such as gold and diamonds prices but for the rest, we are very flexible and adapt to what is required by the client.
Simon:All our jewellery is produced locally from a French High Jeweller that also works with several prestigious brands. Without revealing trade secrets, we work with one of the best goldsmiths in town and, given his international footprint, I can easily say that he is one of the best jewellers in the world.
To answer your question about the diamonds though, I only seldom buy diamonds myself. For all the pavés (the diamonds that surround the centre stone) I usually let my jeweller take care of it and, given his other clientele I can safely say that all these gems are compliant with all international standards such as Kimberley Accords etc.
Simon:AsiaLounges as a company does not have a diamond grader, but, the jeweller we are using for our creation does have a complete sorting and grading department. Therefore, yes, the stones are checked in the same manner that they would be for other high jewellery brands that work with him.
Simon: All of the gems above a certain price we sell to our clients come with a report from an independent gemological institute such as Lotus Gemology who are recognised as being the most knowledgeable team for ruby, sapphire and spinel worldwide.
For other gems, we can have a local gemological lab check the stones for our clients in order for them to have the reassurance that what we propose is indeed the genuine item.
Simon:It is not a standard procedure for us at the moment but we can consider it for the future. You have to understand that given our business model, since we mostly sell in Europe, USA, Japan and Taiwan, it would be very complicated to arrange as we are based here, in Bangkok.
Now for local clients, again, it is an idea that we could explore in the future.
Simon: First of all, it is very important to remind your readers that, you are asking a question that literally takes into account the 1% probability that a problem arises. In four years of making bespoke jewellery, we only had one occurrence of a moving stone. In that case, we fixed the ring at our expense.
Now, in the very unlikely event that the centre stone would come off the mounting, if the client has the stone in hand, it’s a very straight-forward process. Contact us by phone or mail and we will repair the piece of jewellery with the briefest delay. We will also analyse the cause and depending on the result, we would either provide our clients with recommendations in order to avoid it happening again (should it be due to negligence) or take it into considerations for future project (should it be due to a manufacturing defect).
Simon:I honestly have never asked about this, therefore I’m very much unsure. This being said, since each jewellery piece comes with a gemological report (either provided by default for ruby, sapphire and spinel or upon request for other gems) I would personally provide this piece of evidence to a professional appraiser. To the best of my knowledge, however, there are no such institutions in Thailand at the moment, or at least none that has government backing or accreditation.
This being said, I have been working, on some occasions, for over 6 months to get the proper gem and design for clients. Our priority is to ensure that our clients are truly satisfied with their piece. It really depends on whether the client knows what they want and if we translate properly their desires on paper through the designs.
While it is mostly a straight-forward process, there are always exceptional cases where it can take a lot of time.
Last but not least, I always recommend to my clients not to rush a gem or jewellery purchase. If a gem is for you, it’s a bit like falling in love: you just know it!
Simon: I suppose you could copy the design but that does not guarantee the end result. There are several factors that make AsiaLounges jewellery unique such as the gems we are using which are some of the best available in the market, one of the most skilled jeweller in the place and a dedicated team. It is always possible to make things cheaper; it doesn’t mean you should.
We’re also reachable on Facebook and Instagram at @AsiaLounges where you can follow our newest jewels and chat with us. I try to answer as quickly as I can, although it might take me a little while longer while I’m travelling. That said, I’m usually very responsive, so don’t shy away from asking any questions you may have!