Jewellery Inspired by Nature: Harleen Dhillon Kaur

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A pair of intricately detailed earrings titled Tuan Jie is Harleen’s entry for Singapore’s Jewellery Design Award 2015. This design is selected as the 1st runner-up under Category B: The Singaporeans, in the Singapore Jewellery Design Award 2015.
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By Won Xue Li  | 

Ms Harleen Dhillon Kaur
Jewellery designer Ms Harleen Dhillon Kaur

What is the upcoming jewellery trend?

Harleen Dhillon Kaur, the 1st runner-up in the Singapore Jewellery Design Award (SJDA) 2015, shares the jewellery styles that are in vogue with Hollywood’s stars.

She discloses, “The upcoming trends in the jewellery industry are the vintage inspired designs, layering necklaces, layering leather bracelets with charms and the ear climbers. The new bold jewellery with the vintage look is in trend now.”

A fresh-faced Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) graduate, Harleen plans to design jewellery for a living, an unconventional path for an Indian youth. In fact, her landscape architect mother was the one who encouraged her to pursue this path.

“She asked me to explore the possibility of taking up jewellery designing. When I gave it a thought, I realized that jewellery designing would give me an option of working with a large variety of materials, having numerous textiles and colours,” she says.

Since young, she has had a keen fascination with composition and colours, and has always been inclined towards the arts. Pair that with inquisitiveness and sheer hard work, and a winning entry in SJDA 2015 is what Harleen clinches.

Dynamic Skyline1
Dynamic Skyline Collection

Besides winning local competitions, she has also won 2nd place at the International Art and Design Competition in Italy. Designers were required to put a modern twist on their cultures, so Harleen designed an ear cuff that had three motifs, the mango (India’s national fruit), the peacock (India’s national bird and an endangered species) and a half-moon. This was to symbolize India and to bring people’s attention to the destruction of flora and fauna which was endangering animal species.

As a designer, she also loves taking up challenges and joins as many competitions as possible. “It helps me to remain in sync with the market trends,” she quips. She designs for users who are stylish and are willing to try out different trends and looks.

Dynamic Skyline_2
Dynamic Skyline Collection

Winning Entry—Tuan Jie

Her entry for SJDA 2015, a pair of intricately detailed earrings named Tuan Jie, was inspired by cultural and racial harmony. She combined details such as Malay ketupats, Chinese lanterns, Indian festival coconuts and English rosemary with cherries on a modern mesh design and kept it looking stylish and fresh.

“The uniqueness of this city and the beauty of the cultures have now united so well and accepted each other. This shows how lovely Singapore is; where people united together as one nation, and this has inspired me to create this winning piece.”


On her muses and inspiration, she normally draws her inspiration from nature and its beauty. Influenced by her mother, she also takes in elements from architecture that she likes, to create multi-functional pieces of art.

Hailing from India, Harleen is also hugely influenced by Indian style jewellery, and loves modifying them to suit modern tastes.

“The jewellery made in India is full of coloured stones specially, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, which are set mostly in Yellow gold and has curvy natural forms. I love experimenting with different materials, I like to use clean, geometrical lines and fuse them with the traditional by adding a tinge of Indian style motifs or flowy forms.”

She enjoys local designers’ work too, especially that of Tricia Ng’s, the designer for T. Atelier. “Her designs kind of remind me of my style of jewellery and are quite bold and chic.”

Dynamic Skyline Collection

Her favourite piece of work is her rings for the Dynamic Skyline Collection—her final year project. She fused together olden and urban skylines of Singapore, using wood, metal and acrylic to represent how much the country has evolved in the past few years, as well as to represent the tough times that people in the olden times went through.

“(In order) to remind people of the changes that have taken place over the last 50 years and how the skyline best shows the beauty of its country, this ring has been made.  This is also my favourite piece because the materials used in this piece best symbolise the olden and urban skylines.”

Combining all these elements into an interchangeable ring proved to be a challenge for Harleen, but she created a stunning piece of jewellery that spoke of hours of meticulous preparation and craftsmanship.

The Singapore Jewellery Design Award (SJDA) is organised by Singapore Jewellery Association. The SJDA is the premier and Singapore’s only jewellery award competition to recognise young jewellery designers for their talent.

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