Andrew Lam – Outstanding Jewellery With a Cultural Twist
Andrew’s jewellery designs are based on animal, mythical and religious themes.
“Jewellery needs to stand out,” says Andrew Lam of Altejewellers, citing the conservative approach to jewellery design in Singapore. “You cannot compete if you’re designing the same things as others. Jewellery is more than just silver and gold.”
Much of his jewellery are inspired by religious and cultural themes, which cater to the majority of his clients. Besides precious metal, he has also experimented with cheaper metals such as stainless steel, but find that the printing lines were not appealing for what he had in mind.
A chance discovery of an extra axis on AutoCAD some years ago brought Andrew into the world of 3D designing. As a young student in Temasek Polytechnic, his discovery made him stand out from his other classmates and generated a label of “The 3D Guy”, though many of his course-mates remained happy in their 2D world within AutoCAD.
A pendant of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha, also known as the Remover of Obstacles.
Venturing into jewellery design
From product design, Andrew moved on to animation and character design, and for a time, his designs remained in the world of computer and film. Then he discovered 3D printing for jewellery. Two years ago, Andrew started a business partnership with a friend in the traditional jewellery business and from there, developed his skill in 3D jewellery design for selected customers. It was then that he honed is skill in the RhinoGold software, often known as the de facto software for jewellery designers.
“It was not an easy journey at first,” says Andrew, “and I had to learn every step of the way how to convert my 3D animation-style designs into 3D printable ones and then print them. Next, I also had to learn the characteristics of loss-wax casting before I could manufacture the final product for polishing and post-processing.” Today, some two years later, he is confident that he can manage entire process from designing on CAD software to the final casting and post-processing of jewellery. Besides design, his specialties range from 3D modeling to production and branding.
“As someone who likes to share his knowledge and discoveries with others, I took up part-time teaching at the Nanyang Polytechnic,” says Andrew. “Surprisingly, there is still a divide between those who study animation and those who use 3D printing, almost like it was when I was a student.” It is something that Andrew hopes to address.
Andrew has come up with two very distinct jewellery collections to satisfy the local market. The first is a series of animal and fantasy creature designs that included tigers and lions, vampire bats and dragons. “Some of our customers like ‘fierce’ designs – the fiercer, the better,” he says.
The second is a series of religious designs like renditions of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or Kuan Yin and the Hindhu god Ganesha. Not surprisingly, local tastes tend to lean to the conservative, but the designer in him led him to come up with a different treatment of these religious-cultural icons.
For his more avant-garde designs of religious icons, Andrew found a new market in the west and his designs are being noticed and purchased in Belgium, UK and USA. Developing 3D jewellery design skills has not dampened his enthusiasm for traditional jewellery crafting, however. If anything, it has increased his belief that 3D printing and traditional craftsmanship can yield outstanding results. As a proof of this, Andrew wears a magnificent ram head ring inset with jewels that he made himself. “This ring is not for sale,” he says with a smile.
All of Andrew’s jewellery are available in various metals but only in one plastic. He explains that the plastic ones are prototypes for potential customers to look at before they commit a larger sum of money to print in precious metal. It is a business practice that makes good sense.
To contact Andrew for your custom-made designs, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org