Contemporary jeweller Ruiyin Lin has a rigourous approach. “Research, explore, materialise,” she responds pointedly over an email interview.
“To State Property, glamourous jewellery is as important as the physical glamour of the jewellery piece,” she adds. “Its design is extremely personal. Jewellery can reflect someone’s story and personal style,” explains the purposeful millennial.
To quote art historian Damian Skinner’s Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective: The body moves in the public domain, and makers hope their work will piggyback on this mobility in order to engage with reality, be relevant, modern, activated.
With this in mind, Ruiyin sees herself as a storyteller. “Every year, be it discovering the body, or finding beauty in the irregular, we release a collection based on our current obsession. We enjoy creating pieces that are, at times, deeply meaningful to the wearer, and other times, true to the concept we have set out for ourselves with extensive research.”
Seeking The Off Key
Known to those she cares about as someone who tries her best in everything she does, Ruiyin believes that the simplest thing is the hardest to create.
“In school, we were trained to conceptualise, scrutinise, improve, and repeat. It’s a practice I believe in, but I also think that, sometimes, I take this to the point where I end up over-complicating my work. I think, or at least hope, that this will get easier with practice and confidence,” she ruminates.
First and foremost, Ruiyi establishes that State Property prides itself for consciously seeking the off key. Intentionally positioned as a luxury label, Ruiyin and her co-founder Afzal blurs the line between art and design. Through jewellery and objects, State Property consciously represents both the tangible and intangible – the implication of physicality in ‘property’, which contrasts with the abstractness of ‘state of mind’.
To keep her creative engine humming, Ruiyin abides by a pragmatic ritual – research, read and share. “It is about expression and sharing what we’ve learnt,” she says.
“Afzal and I are constantly challenging each other’s perspectives, that of a jewellery and industrial designer. We see jewellery as objects for the body, and objects as jewellery for spaces. This seemingly cursory adjustment, tints everything we do.”
Most recently, State Property was part of RISING 50, a fashion initiative presented by Digital Fashion Week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Singapore.
In honour of the celebration, State Property showcased a brand new collection called Udan Liris (“drizzling rain” in English). It was part of the contemporary jewellery brand’s first foray into the Indonesian fashion industry.
Her Daily Grind
While Ruiyin takes a moment to celebrate this new milestone, running a jewellery business in Singapore is no mean feat. From pricing, to range-planning and team management, building the business aspects was and still is State Property’s biggest challenge.
“Being a fashion entrepreneur is about adaptation, determination and patience. We need to be flexible, understand our fast-paced industry, and constantly adjust to the changing demands of our business circumstances. My greatest worry is not being able to grow and learn with the people I love,” says Ruiyin plainly.
On a typical day, the female go-getter starts by meeting with colleagues and checking in on everyone. After getting updated on what they are working on, the rest of the day transforms into a blur of meetings, logistics, housekeeping and discussions.
Nevertheless, Ruiyin is dedicated to her craft. She only ends her day after everyone leaves the office. She also makes sure to reply emails, get designs out and execute administrative work.
In an effort to design great jewellery that tells a story and reflects the identity of the wearer, Ruiyin unabashedly admits that her happy place is the library.
“When I develop new work, I constantly tell myself that my instinct is precious. Trust it. There is no right or wrong approach to designing. When you feel that you have something, don’t overthink it. Define a flow and constantly refine the design process. Most importantly, I have to believe in that process and where it brings me to.