Costume jeweller Nurraini Mohd Amin dreams of making her Aldea Collection a global name.
Jewellery designer, Nurraini Mohd Amin’s mission is to make every woman feel beautiful with her costume jewellery.
Intrigued by classical designs, Nurraini pursued her love for jewellery by studying fashion design at a local college. It was there that she discovered that almost every metal could be turned into a collectible piece of jewellery.
After graduation, she went into the printing business with her brother Hazri and designed wedding cards, catalogues, party cards and name cards. But after three years, Nurraini decided that she was going to carve a name for herself in what she does and loves best – designing jewellery.
So she set up Nusantara Touch Enterprise and started designing exclusive costume jewellery. She also supplied corporate gifts and souvenirs to government and corporate bodies under her brand, Aldea Collection.
Nurraini invested RM50,000 to buy a jewellery model maker and another RM10,000 on jewellery tools, rubber maker, casting and software.
“Since young, I have liked to transform images into designs. A flower, a leaf or a branch – they inspire me. I remember visuals even when I’ve only seen it once,” says Nurraini, 29.
Simple but exquisite
Her first piece of design was a pendant, simple but exquisite. And it caught the eye. Friends and relatives began to take note of her creative work.
“I wore it with pride but when a friend wanted to buy it, I sold it. My designs are mostly traditional, but if there is a request, I will also design something modern or bold, depending on the order,” says Nurraini.
The young entrepreneur is assisted by two designers and two workers at her office and workshop in Desa Sri Bayu, Rawang.
Making custom jewellery may sound glamorous but the process is a tedious one. It begins with ideas, putting them to paper and transfering these to drawing boards on the computer. Lots of fine-tuning ensue, before they proceed to the actual mould-making and then finishing.
Nurraini usually sketches her designs, then works with software to visualise the end product. The fun part starts when she transforms the designs into models.
Her favoured material is high-quality pewter that’s plated with gold and rhodium.
“This has been my signature material for the last eight years. Pewter was once deemed an expensive gift, and not many could afford it. Nowadays, pewter-plated accessories are affordable, maintenance-free and beautiful. They are also increasingly popular. Even the orders I get for corporate gifts these days are for pewter-plated items and no longer the all-solid pewter stuff. It’s more classy and glamorous,” she says.
Most of Nurraini’s designs are unique, and she usually makes no more than 100 pieces for each of her designs. She prefers to continually add new designs to her collections and refreshing her offerings.
The tagline for Aldea Collection is “Exclusively created with elegance”, conveying Nurraini’s passion and penchant for traditional-styled costume jewellery.
“The inspiration for new designs comes at odd hours. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night to sketch a design that’s been playing in my head. When I am in a creative mood, everything I see is very inspiring. I visualise and slowly shape the design in my head, before I start making the mould.
“When my creative juices start flowing, I call it my spiritual moment. It’s like a creative spell and will last for days. Once I start sketching and make the rubber models, I get so inspired, but sadly not all my designs are appreciated,” say Nurraini, who gets a lot of support from her family.
Nurraini, who also sells her jewellery products online and at kiosks in malls, is inspired by abstract forms and shapes, be it nature, forest or under the sea.
Her kiosks often feature beautiful custom-made shelves. Among the items in her Aldea Collection are bracelets, earrings, necklaces, brooches, hair bands, pendants, hair clips and pins. Prices range from RM10 right up to RM15,000, depending on the design and the type of metal used.
“Some of these whimsical designs are one-of-a-kind and limited. I don’t even keep them for reference. I always challenge myself to do better with every new design without compromising craftsmanship. When it comes to jewellery, almost every woman of all ages appreciate it. The only difference is whether the style and designs suit their personality,” says Nurraini.
Business has been doing well, and she invested another RM100,000 early in the year for expansion.
Nurraini considers herself lucky because she has developed a great rapport with her customers over the years.
“I already have a group of loyal customers in this region, especially from Indonesia and Singapore. They are the reason that I come up with new items almost monthly.
“The ‘in’ thing now is pewter plated with rhodium and gold. My customers are more discriminating in taste and expectations, compared to when I first started. Some prefer pewter plated with rhodium rather than gold. Rhodium is really beautiful as plating because it is dazzling, glittering with a slight rustic touch. It’s almost like chrome, but the finishing is much better. Most white gold jewellery these days are rhodium-plated. Unfortunately, rhodium plating will wear off eventually and require re-plating,” says Nurraini who wants to set up a one-stop centre to sell all her costume jewellery.
Nuraini says she would stick to pewter-plated material because pewter has a natural elegance about it.
“Pewter, when blended with other metals like rhodium and gold, will form a special alloy. The end result has that distinctive characteristic, which is versatile and durable. My customers demand an exceptional and classic piece every time, and this seems to be my forte. I just hope my Aldea Collection could be a global brand one day,” says Nurraini.