A YEAR TO SHINE

金猴贺岁

ZbBZ (Singapore) - - FRONT PAGE - TEXT DEN­NIS NG / 黄少伟

Ev­ery Chi­nese New Year, renowned l ocal jew­ellery and gift brand R ISIS re­leases a se­ries of fig­urines to com­mem­o­rate the year’s zodiac an­i­mal, which col­lec­tors wait ea­gerly for. The com­ing Year of the Mon­key will be no ex­cep­tion. This time, RI­SIS will in­tro­duce a se­ries of five 24K gold-plated mon­key fig­urines that are in­cred­i­bly life­like, from the dis­cernible strands of fur on their bod­ies right down to their sparkling eyes.

At the top end of the se­ries i s Seren­ity, fea­tur­ing a golden mon­key sit­ting on a moun­tain of li­uli or glass crys­tal, seem­ingly con­tem­plat­ing life as it holds a lotus flower made of pure sil­ver and en­crusted with daz­zling sap­phires. Here, the lotus flower is a sym­bol of the tran­scen­den­tal and the noble. Plants sym­bol­is­ing the four sea­sons are en­graved on the moun­tain, namely the ev­er­green pine (rep­re­sent­ing spring), lush bam­boo (sum­mer), the el­e­gant os­man­thus flower (fall), and the hardy plum blossom (win­ter). Only three Seren­ity fig­urines have been pro­duced world­wide.

The For­est and Dawn fig­urines are sim­i­lar i n de­sign to Seren­ity, ex­cept that the golden mon­key i s hold­ing a beau­ti­ful ap­ple. As the Chi­nese term for ap­ple, “ping­guo”, sounds sim­i­lar to the term for peace (“ping an”), it i s used here i n the de­sign as a sym­bol for a har­mo­nious and tran­quil new ye a r. Th e fig­urine comes in two choices of colours for the moun­tain base: green, to rep­re­sent the lush forests, and am­ber,

To wel­come the Year of the Mon­key, RI­SIS in­tro­duces a se­ries of five col­lectible 24K gold-plated fig­urines whose life­like fea­tures are the re­sult of re­mark­able crafts­man­ship本地著名首饰品牌RISIS在来临猴年,推出一系列五款不同造型的24K镀金灵猴摆设,每只金猴都是手工制作,雕琢得活灵活现,是值得收藏的精美艺术品。

which is rem­i­nis­cent of a sun­rise; this se­ries is lim­ited to 99 pieces of each de­sign.

The process of dream­ing up the themes and de­signs is not an easy one, says Navin Amara­suriya, 31, di­rec­tor of R ISIS, which is owned by the B.P. de Silva group. He tells ZbBz: “The hard­est part of de­sign­ing the Zodiac col­lec­tion is sim­ply com­ing up with a unique way to tell a story that has been told many times be­fore. Be­yond just tak­ing an an­i­mal and pro­duc­ing a sculp­ture, we do hours of re­search into the species, char­ac­ter traits, sto­ries and cul­tural con­no­ta­tions be­fore we even start to con­cep­tu­alise the col­lec­tion. This year, we took a risk by im­bu­ing our mon­keys with hu­man qual­i­ties, to show the life of a hu­man through our clos­est ge­netic rel­a­tive. We feel that we have achieved what we set out to ex­press.”

In the 1970s, the then Sin­ga­pore In­sti­tute of Stan­dards and In­dus­trial Re­search( SI SIR) suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped a method of gold­plat­ing and preserving the beauty of or­chid blooms. RI­SIS, which is SI SI Rs pelt back­wards, was founded in 1976 to make use of this new tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce ex­quis­ite sou­venirs that rep­re­sented Sin­ga­pore. In 2000, B.P. de Silva, a fam­ily busi­ness with over 140 years of his­tory, ac­quired R ISIS and in­jected a fresh breath of air in the brand. Amara­suriya is a fifth-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily mem­ber who man­ages the busi­ness.

The pro­duc­tion process for each of th­ese gold-plated mon­key fig­urines is a painstak­ing one. Each fig­urine is a one-of-a-kind piece cre­ated by hand by RI­SIS crafts­men. The pro­duc­tion process can be bro­ken down into six key steps: de­sign, pro­to­typ­ing (with wire and clay), cre­ation of the wax pro­to­type, mould-mak­ing, cast­ing in pewter and, fi­nally, gold-plat­ing.

“In pro­duc­tion, the most dif­fi­cult as­pect is en­sur­ing that the dif­fer­ent styles and tech­niques of our crafts­men align to­wards a sin­gle aes­thetic ob­jec­tive,” ex­plains Amara­suriya. “They are all in­cred­i­bly tal­ented, yet at their core, they will al­ways have the in­de­pen­dent na­ture of artists, so there is a ten­dency that each wants to go his own way. It is thanks to the skill of the se­nior crafts­men that the pieces end up hav­ing a level of con­sis­tency that we would like to achieve for our cus­tomers.”

Among the 12 an­i­mals of the Chi­nese zodiac, the golden mon­key fig­urines are among the most pop­u­lar with con­sumers, he says. “The mon­key is an an­i­mal that is also pur­chased for aes­thetic rea­sons as well, given that it is the clos­est an­i­mal to hu­man be­ings,” he ex­plains.

While many brands around the world out­source their non-core busi­nesses to ser­vice providers, RI­SIS prefers to con­duct all of its work —in­clud­ing de­sign, pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing— in-house. Al­though this ap­proach leads to higher costs, it al­lows RI­SIS to en­sure prod­uct qual­ity for max­i­mum cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion.

Amara­suriya proudly notes that some cus­tomers are will­ing to be put on a wait­list for RI­SIS prod­ucts, a happy sce­nario which he at­tributes to the com­pany’s em­pha­sis on prod­uct qual­ity and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. “The 24K gold plat­ing and fine-de­tail work is unique to our brand. There have been com­peti­tors who have come and gone, sim­ply be­cause they do not want to in cur the high cost and com­plex­ity of pro­duc­ing pieces at our level.”

He cred­ited the Sin­ga­pore govern­ment for R&D grants and op­por­tu­ni­ties that help R ISIS grow. “RI­SIS will con­tinue to rein­vest in qual­ity wher­ever pos­si­ble,” he adds.

Seren­ity is avail­able in a lim­ited edi­tion of three pieces world­wide.

Op­ti­mism per­fectly cap­tures the boun­ties of youth.

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