Josie Natori on jewelry: Try, explore, experiment

Fashion designer Josie Natori couldn’t possibly choose just one piece of jewelry to wear if it all came down to it.

Josie Natori ventures into the jewellery business with her debut line manufactured through high-tech 3D printing.
“That’s impossible!” she said when Manila Standard asked the hypothetical question.

“I can’t just wear one piece [of jewelry]. Why? Because diamonds!” the Filipino-born American designer enthused as she stood behind the counter at a department store where her debut line of fine jewelry are currently available.

“You have to be a bit more daring. [Jewelry] is about exploring, not only one way; you have to be experimental because it can change your look.” 

At the launch of Natori’s fine jewelry collection, the designer wore a pair of statement round dragon earrings in midnight silver with a huge gemstone in the middle, which she revealed she has been wearing “a lot because it’s very unique; it stands out.”

Natori—known for her eponymous label of intimate apparel, sleepwear, ready-to-wear, and home accessories—captures her “East-meets-West” design principle in a pretty straightforward manner.

The debut line features three distinct icons: Indochine, dragon, and kamon—symbols that are distinctly east—injected into pieces with contemporary feel that’s distinctly west. “When you say ‘East-West,’ it’s right for everyone,” explained Natori.

East also literally meets west as Natori collaborated with a New York-based designer, the wife of Ankur Daga, the founder and chief executive officer of Angara which manufactured Natori’s fine jewelry.

Natori has partnered with direct-to-consumer jewelry firm Angara in creating the debut line, combining the two label’s design aesthetic and manufacturing expertise through 3D printing—technology that is currently disrupting the jewelry industry by enabling faster manufacturing.

Angara uses CAD/CAM to translate Natori’s designs into wax models which then go through a casting machine to transform them into molds into which the metals would be poured.

Hexagonal Indochine Bamboo Pave Set Black Diamond Ring (right) and Natori x Angara Amethyst Indochine Bamboo Ring
In our interview with Daga, he said this process of manufacturing allows them to use any kind of metals, ideally silver and gold, as well as precious and semi precious stones. “But if you did it with plastic it would probably be a different process,” he clarified.

Precision and accuracy are the selling point of 3D printing in jewelry manufacturing. “The accuracy level is higher when they are machine made,” Daga pointed out, adding that the same complex details made through time-intensive handcrafted pieces can still be achieved—much better, practically speaking, as the whole process takes less time and less to no mistake.

“If you look at the dragon collection, when you look at the scales, you can see each piece’s super fine details,” said Daga. “You’d get them if they’re done by hand, but it would just take longer.”

3D printing allows the brand to manufacture pieces within a week. 

The jewelry line is distinctly Natori: fine, bold, and sophisticated—each a statement piece in itself.

Much like her alluring ready-to-wear and sultry sleepwear and lingerie that are anything but dull and drab, Natori believes in always trying something out of the ordinary, even when it comes to jewelry.

Angara chief executive Ankur Daga is flanked by SSI Group, Inc. president Anton Huang and Rustan’s president Donnie Tantoco.
“You have to try it,” she said. “You have to be a bit more daring. I think it’s about exploring, not only one way; you have to be experimental because it can change your look.”

She shared, “If clients tell me they haven’t worn a big jewelry, I tell them to try it! It makes you look cooler, younger.”

“Fine jewelry is the next natural progression in our mission to create East-meets-West lifestyle concepts,” Natori said in a statement.

“I am thrilled we found a best-in-class partner in terms of not only design and product development, but also e-commerce and supply chain,” she added, referring to Angara.

Pieces include earrings, pendants, necklaces, rings, and bracelets, made with yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, silver, midnight silver, diamonds, pearls, and precious and semi-precious stones. Prices range from $300 to $58,000.

They are available at Silver Vault at Rustan’s Makati until Jan. 31 before the line’s officially launch at retail stores in New York City.

Topics: Josie Natori , Silver Vault , Jewelry , Angara , Ankur Daga , Anton Huang , Donnie Tantoco
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