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Saturday June 9, 2007

Meteoric rise

One man is turning meteorites into affordable consumer products. 

Maverick Malaysian entrepreneur Datuk Jaafar Jamaludin frequently jets between his two homes in Canning Vale, Perth in Australia and Sungai Petani, Kedah.  

He flies several times a year at least, but of late, with his meteorite business growing, Jaafer visits his factory cum showroom in Taman Ria, Sungai Petani more regularly. This is where he keeps his rare collection of meteorites and the jewellery made from them.  

His wife Datin Norbariah Ibrahim and their four children Rosmina, 31, Zamani, 30, Shahril, 26, and Amirah, 25, help to run the family’s opal business in Canning Vale as well as the meteorite business in Sungai Petani. 

Shiny, happy people: Datuk Jaafar Jamaluddin (left) with his wife Datin Nor Bahriah Ibrahim showing off the brooch made from a meteorite. —Pictures by MUSTAFA AHMAD
The family moved to Perth in 1994 when Jaafar decided to venture abroad to seek the “right business”.  

The move proved opportune because he met a group of people who collected fossils, meteorites, and rare gemstones. Jaafar picked up the habit as a result and 10 years later, has his own collection of meteorites of all shapes and sizes from all over the world. 

“We turn them into affordable consumer products like jewellery, apparel, car accessories, keris and souvenir,” Jaafar says.  

Jaafar says his meteorite jewellery collection range in price from a few hundred ringgit a piece to a few thousand.  

A good pair: Datuk Jaafar Jamaluddin and his wife Datin Nor Bahriah Ibrahim having a good time playing golf at Kelab Cinta Sayang in Sungai Petani.
They are exclusively designed in Hong Kong and Bangkok.  

His meteorite business, Jejak Juta, is having its exhibition on meteorites at Bastion House, Jalan Kota, in Malacca from now until July 1. 

“This exhibition is to showcase the meteorites in a manner that goes beyond the simple display seen in a conventional museum.  

“Visitors will leave the exhibition with a heady feeling of having been to space themselves,” he promises. 

Girl’s best friend: Datin Nor Bahriah Ibrahim showing off a meteorite brooch made of pearl and gold.
Jaafar says he had concept designer Syed Mustaffa Kamal Jamalullail of Creatifmind Design visit the Sci-Tech Centre in Canning Vale to get a better feel of meteorites before commencing work. 

“This exhibition will spur an awareness on meteorites among Malaysians. I believe it will be the first of its kind in this region, and the hall will be equipped with state-of-the-art props and settings featuring an exhibition room, rotating room and lunar room or moonscape to provide visitors with an ‘out-of-the world experience’,” he adds. 

Jaafar says the highlight of the exhibition will be in the “Meteor Impact Room”, where visitors will get an idea of the kind of devastation that follows a “meteor fall-out” from space on Earth! 

Visitors will also not only get a chance to touch the meteorites but could also own them as a collection of jewellery and souvenir items will be sold in the product room at the end of the exhibition.


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