Carolyn Kan, the founder and designer of Carrie K Jewellery, is one of Singapore’s best known, and successful, creators. She is not only known for her intricate fine jewellery pieces inspired by her Southeast Asian heritage, humour and love, but also for her support of the local creative community.
Stories that lead to creativity
For Carrie, creativity is central to everything she does: “Creativity is the pursuit of unexpected possibilities to create something new.”
“The purpose attached to my creative goal is to immortalise meaningful stories into precious, wearable reminders that celebrate life. I love jewellery, so I am constantly looking for smart ways to innovate and inject details into our jewellery.
“Jewellery to me should not just be pretty and precious in value, but precious in how important and meaningful it is to each client, and the joy it sparks in those who own our Carrie K. designs.”
Inspiration is always the most important part of any creative individual’s practice, and for Carrie it comes from the stories she wants to tell.
“I usually start with the story I want to tell. As I am a very visual person, it begins with the seed – a visual symbol of the story. I then build the rest of the design or a full collection around that symbol and inject versatility into it.
“Versatility is part of Carrie K. design DNA, and that is usually worked in after the visual icon of that story is defined,” she explains.
I never take off my Code Bangle featuring my husband’s and my initials in morse code.Carolyn Kan
Balancing the desires of creativity and the needs of a client, is something that Carrie has come to terms with; she says she is lucky to be able to work in the “happy business of celebrating people’s milestones, and love”.
“My creative muscle is fueled by designing jewellery that tells important stories. For example, our signature Code jewellery is purposely timeless, yet if you look closer, it features unique morse code diamond dots and dashes that secretly immortalise initials or meaningful words.”
Adding value to people’s lives
“Many people believe that the creative industry is ‘non-essential’ and a bit ‘fluffy’,” says Carrie. “Covid [actually] did us a great service as it forced me to really interrogate why Carrie K. exists. I realised that we add value to people’s lives through the precious, meaningful markers that celebrate people’s lives and remind them that they are valued, and loved.”
“And in Covid times, we were reminded of the importance of showing our love for our significant other, our family, best friends and ourselves with meaningful gestures. I call our designs little precious messages of love and heartfelt wishes,” she says.
Over the years since founding, Carrie K has gone through a number of changes, transforming from a line of fashionable, playful silver accessories, to the atelier of fine jewellery in precious metals and gemstones today.
“As our clients and the world evolved, we focussed on creating fine jewellery that tell stories celebrating life, love and legacy, which is often inspired by our Asian Heritage,” Carrie says.
“In the last two years, we were able to renew our focus on innovation, design and craftsmanship. And with our certified in-house gemmologist, we have access to unique gems set in original Carrie K. designs.
“We invested in an in-house CAD and 3D prototyping facility to allow us to engineer innovative, versatile designs that allow self-expression, and more ways to wear each precious jewellery piece. Our designs deconstruct to minimalist forms for everyday wear, and they layer to create statements for days you just want to be noticed.”
Multi-use and timeless
The focus on multi-use, timeless jewellery designs is also a part of Carrie’s commitment to creating sustainable jewellery pieces in a time when we are all questioning issues of climate change and over-consumption.
“Although we don’t publicise it, part of our reason for creating versatile designs is so people can have quality over quantity, yet be able to wear their fine jewellery pieces in a myriad of different ways, and have a bit of fun with it,” Carrie explains.
My favourite piece of jewellery has to be our unique Carrie K. Pearl Bar where we have ‘funked’ up the classic pearl necklace with our Carrie K. accessories so one can create over 100 different looks to subvert grandma’s pearls.Carolyn Kan
“In addition, we now have a service called ‘Heirloom Revival’ where we reimagine fine jewellery our clients inherited but may not suit their taste. Many clients spring cleaned over the last couple of years when they were stuck at home, so they rediscovered a lot of old family jewellery that means a lot to them but they don’t wear.
“We breathe new life into their old heirloom jewellery by recycling the gold and gemstones to create bespoke jewellery that fit our clients’ taste and lifestyle.
“We also specialise in cultured or lab grown diamonds, and our in-house gemmologist hosts gem workshops to educate clients on this more sustainable diamond option, so our clients are better able to make informed decisions.”
After the years of enforced restrictions, Carrie is now looking forward to expanding the brand internationally, while expanding her range of engagement and wedding jewellery.
“These last two years, gave us the opportunity to work remotely with numerous clients based in other parts of the world to create bespoke jewellery that feature their unique story. I am so excited about the demand for our approach to storytelling through jewellery.”
You can visit the Carrie K Jewellery atelier at the National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, #02-02 National Design Centre, Singapore, or shop the brand online at www.carriekrocks.com and follow them on Instagram at @carriek_rocks.