Art collector and jewellery designer Nisan Ongwuthitham of Thailand-based Ong Jewelry Design relies on his passion for aesthetics as he navigates the world of fine jewellery design.
Nisan Ongwuthitham's jewellery pieces are inspired by important themes and symbolisms in Thai culture, ranging from art to nature. He is especially drawn to animals and flowers, which he considers to be the "yin" and the "yang."
Ongwuthitham started his business more than a decade ago and quickly established a reputation in the jewellery industry for his creativity and exquisite craftsmanship. Bangkok, which is a major gemstone trading and cutting centre, also plays a vital role in his business since it offers him access to top-quality raw materials.
The business started in a department store in Bangkok, selling simple jewellery pieces adorned with quality gemstones. Ongwuthitham then came across a mesmerising bluish-violet gemstone from Tanzania, which he considered a turning point in his career.
“A friend of mine was in Tanzania and he bought a few pieces of high-quality, untreated tanzanite stones for me. Prices were still low then,” he revealed. “In the past decade, the price of tanzanite has gone up more than 10 times.” It was during that time that he realised the importance of offering one-of-a-kind materials and designs to customers to make a name in the global fine jewellery industry.
Thanks to his expertise in micro pavé setting, Ongwuthitham constantly produces bold and unconventional designs using titanium. A pair of butterfly titanium earrings embellished with coloured gemstones was a crowd favourite at a recent international jewellery show in Hong Kong, he continued.
While the company enjoys strong demand globally, it is currently directing its focus on Asia. “My butterfly earrings used to be very popular in Europe but since the market there is down, we want to further strengthen our Asian business instead,” he explained. Every Ong Design Jewelry piece is handmade. Products fall within the US$5,000 to US$10,000 price range.
Asian buyers prefer green, pink and red gemstones, according to Ongwuthitham. The company also offers design customisation, particularly to the royal family in Thailand.