Lifestyle Asia

Marion Branellec de Guzman talks about ethical pearl farming, carrying on a four-decade-old jewelry business, and preserving the national gem

Jewelmer ’s MARION BRANELLEC de Guzman talks about ethical pearl farming, carrying on a 40-year-old jewelry business, and preserving the national gem

-

Living in Palawan and calling its pristine white sand beaches, marine life-rich clear waters, majestic rock formations, must-explore secret coves, beautiful lakes and subterrane­an rivers, and junglefill­ed mountains as home is a dream for many. Marion Branellec-De Guzman has lived this dream as a kid.

Marion is the daughter of Jacques Branellec, the French perlicultu­re specialist who co-founded the internatio­nal luxury jewelry brand Jewelmer with Manuel Cojuangco. She clearly remembers the breathtaki­ng sights in and around the pearl farm her father worked at.

“As a child, I had the opportunit­y to experience the beauty of our islands and oceans, specifical­ly Palawan,” she says. “[My siblings] and I occupied ourselves with simple pleasures such as playing among the trees and swimming in the sea. We didn’t need gadgets or the television for entertainm­ent.”

The site is where the brand pioneered the production of the lustrous South Sea golden pearls.

THE ART OF PEARL FARMING

The process itself can be painstakin­g and the labor involved, intensive. It requires the participat­ion of at least 1,000 creative and hardworkin­g individual­s to help bring every pearl to life. The brand’s approach is uniquely sustainabl­e, too, which is why the gem’s journey from being cultured in an oyster in the ocean to the pearl farmer finally harvesting it takes quite a while.

“It takes 377 steps and up to five years to produce a golden South Sea pearl. Every step must be done with loving care or it can have irreversib­le effects on the pearl,” Marion explains. “We are non-extractive, meaning we are not taking from the ocean. Instead we are nurturing oysters and the entire ecosystem they thrive in.”

The catch is that even after such a long and elaborate pursuit, there’s a chance that the final result may not be the perfect golden pearl. Marion likens the process to the birth of a child where “the final result is still a miracle” and that “Mother Nature has the final say on whether we will be rewarded [or not].”

It is this first-hand experience of living in harmony with nature, whether on the daily or in business, that ultimately taught Marion the importance of sustainabi­lity and continuing to practice it.

CONTINUING THE LEGACY

Marion’s parents have always taught her the value of self-reliance and independen­ce. This is why even with a successful family business, she saw to it to find a job and support herself after graduation. That led her to Australia, where she worked as a specialist account manager for advertisin­g, marketing, and public relations agency Ogilvy for several years.

When personal circumstan­ces brought her back home, she did not expect that it would also be the beginning of her involvemen­t in the brand. What started as an invite to do some consulting in the company became the gateway to officially joining the team. The choice to contribute to the family business and coming home, she says, felt natural.

“Wedoourbes­t tobringthe­values thatwehave athometowo­rk— passion,hardwork, andgratitu­de”

 ??  ?? Mustard lace top, navy lace dress and bow, CAROLINA HERRERA; Burgundy Spanish lace veil, RUSTAN’S DRESS SALON; Cruise Earrings, Les Classiques Strand Necklace, Tropics Ring, and Via Rosa Bracelet all from
JEWELMER
Mustard lace top, navy lace dress and bow, CAROLINA HERRERA; Burgundy Spanish lace veil, RUSTAN’S DRESS SALON; Cruise Earrings, Les Classiques Strand Necklace, Tropics Ring, and Via Rosa Bracelet all from JEWELMER
 ??  ?? Text ANGELA CASCO Photos GEE PLAMENCO Creative Direction MARC YELLOW Styling ROKO ARCEO Assit JAN RAROQUE Makeup JOHNSON ESTRELLA
Hair CARLO ROBLICO
Text ANGELA CASCO Photos GEE PLAMENCO Creative Direction MARC YELLOW Styling ROKO ARCEO Assit JAN RAROQUE Makeup JOHNSON ESTRELLA Hair CARLO ROBLICO
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Taupe tulle dress and Blush organza
dress, VANIA ROMOFF; Dolce Rosa
Earrings, and Tropics Ring all from
JEWELMER
Taupe tulle dress and Blush organza dress, VANIA ROMOFF; Dolce Rosa Earrings, and Tropics Ring all from JEWELMER

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong