A YEAR TO SHINE
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.