Jewelry that spells out love

By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter

WHEN times are hard, we all need something soft and comforting to get us through the days.

While the metals and jewels used in jewelry designer Paul Syjuco’s new collection PS ILY are undeniably sturdy, gentle lines and curves soften their effect, making the pieces cozy and pleasant to the eye. Rounded pearls and diamonds add to the effect. In an e-mail to BusinessWorld, Mr. Syjuco said, “I retain the use of noble metals as I am a fine jeweler, but yes, they do represent permanence as well in that gold holds value, diamonds are forever and pearls will forever represent purity.”

According to a press release, the initials “PS” in the line’s name refer not only to Mr. Syjuco’s initials but also to the short version of the Latin post-scriptum, written to end a letter before saying “I Love You” — which is what “ILY” stands for. “It’s an acronym that everyone is familiar with. Something warm and human and comforting,” Mr. Syjuco said. “The line is a play on the concepts of affection and love: through hugs and kisses, through hopes of infinity, promises of eternity, the time we invest in relationships.”

This is then reflected in circular themes (such as concentric circles of gold and either mother-of-pearl or onyx inlay surrounding a single round-cut diamond), diamond-encrusted infinity symbols (seen in rings, bangles, pendants, and earrings), and the O’s in an X and O line (as in “hugs and kisses”). “I wanted to create pieces that were warm, comforting and organic. Even the Xs and Os are drawn in round wires that have a soft appearance, and provide an interesting font. These are available in different gold options but I prefer the warmer tones of yellow and rose gold for most designs,” he said. “It’s meant to be playful, light, and accessible.”

The lightness in this theme belies what most of us have seen in 2020. Mr. Syjuco’s brand has also faced its own issues during the pandemic: “We are affected, as much as everyone, due to restrictions. We lost a lot of time in terms of the annual collection I come out with every October. It usually takes me a year to prepare; from designing to producing on average 100-200 one-off pieces for a collection,” he said. “Since we just started operating our workshop recently, I’m looking at releasing select pieces by the end of the year hopefully. I have a couple of collaborations as well coming out in the short term; it’s everyone helping out each other during these times.

They are still not at 100% capacity and “It seems it’ll stay this way till I don’t know when,” said Mr. Syjuco. The fact that their retail outlets have been closed since the start of lockdown is “quite difficult for something quite tactile as jewelry, which you like to try on first before deciding. There’s a large personal experience that’s lacking. It’s been a challenge. But this new line also hopes to sustain our skilled craftsmen in that through every order is another day of work for them. It’s based on pre-orders so we don’t waste any materials to produce. We are a small operation and that helps us to be agile also in terms of situations.”

One thinks that it’s easy to eschew luxury during times like these, when necessities such as food and healthcare are paramount. One must not forget though, that some of the world’s oldest surviving firms — those that have ridden out pandemics, economic crashes, and wars — are those that deal in luxury: “things we don’t really need.” Asked about the endurance of luxury despite all the odds, Mr. Syjuco said, “Trust is paramount in our business. We’re very thankful to our patrons for the confidence in us; in what we deliver to them. The fact is, in whatever the situation, life will go on. Milestones will happen, birthdays will be celebrated, people will get married. These are the things that people live for or make them feel alive.

“What a privilege it is for us to make our clients’ celebrations more special. Maybe it’s this mindset that makes us want to deliver more than expected. Because it’s the relationships that we value most,” he said.

While throughout history, jewelry has served a purpose during hard times — you can sell them or pawn them if needed — for Mr. Syjuco “It’s a reward for making it this far in unprecedented times. People want to feel happy. People will always need to express themselves. This has always been of more consideration versus intrinsic values.”

The pandemic has of course dampened any plans for grand launches, but has also changed the significance of the collection’s theme of love — developed last year before the COVID-19 pandemic — during these times. “The most crucial realization I had during the past months is that you realize what is most important and meaningful to you. PS ILY is a reflection of where I am personally,” Mr. Syjuco was quoted as saying in a press release. He explained to BusinessWorld, “I believe it has only strengthened the idea even more. In isolation during lockdown, a lot of people must have realized many things. Love must have been something on top of the list. For others, for yourself, to a higher being or power.”

The entire PS ILY is available for pre-order at E-mail for more inquiries. Follow @paulsyjuco on Instagram.

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