Making stars shine

Making stars shine

Unknown to many here, the jeweller of choice for some of the biggest names in pop music today, including Rihanna, Beyonce and Katy Perry, is Singaporean designer Lynn Ban.

Her namesake label Lynn Ban Jewelry, started three years ago, is an upstart of a brand.

But A-listers from the music and fashion scenes have taken a shine to its bold and edgy designs, inspired by pop culture and featuring mainly black rhodium and diamonds.

Her jewellery has been featured on magazine covers including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W Magazine and Interview, as well as in the music videos by Rihanna, Beyonce, Perry, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj.

The 42-year-old says: "The woman I design for is empowered and confident and, in terms of fashion, she's here to make an impression."

With her smokey eyes and short, slicked-back hair, Ban looks like the embodiment of her rock star clientele, both fierce and glamorous.

But during the interview with Life! , she is quick to smile and laugh over coffee, revealing a more gentle side.

Based in New York, the married mother of one is in town for her annual visit to see family and friends, and to take part in a trunk show of her jewellery at multi-label retailer Club 21, which has been stocking her pieces since 2012.

Her jewellery is priced from about US$300 (S$374) for a silver ring to about US$200,000 for a black rhodium and diamond cuff. From three countries in 2011, the label is now stocked in 17 countries, including Monaco and Abu Dhabi.

Memorable pieces include the Armour ring, a sculptural silver ring from her first collection that looks like armour when stacked; and the Gash cuff, a large black rhodium cuff that opens up to resemble a jagged wound embedded with diamonds.

Other designs, such as a smoking lips lariat necklace inspired by Tom Wesselmann, take their cue from pop art.

Ban and her family lived in Katong before moving to New York when her father, a bank executive, was posted there to work for the then Chase Manhattan Bank. She was four then.

The family spent three years in New York before moving to Hong Kong in 1979. They returned to New York in 1982 and spent five more years there, after which they returned to Singapore.

Those years away were exciting, Ban recalls, as she often explored the cities with her parents.

The elder of two siblings - her sister is younger by 19 years, she shares a close bond with her parents.

"We did everything together and there was a sense of curiosity and adventure," she says.

She looked up to her mother Patricia Ban, now 69, a former secretary with a savvy fashion sense.

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