Just like true love, beautiful, quality jewellery is meant to last a lifetime. Again, like unwavering devotion, the diamond is highly desired, sought after and sometimes elusive. Composed of an atomic bonding of atoms and pure carbon, diamonds are the most resilient material on the planet—in short, they are incredibly durable and enduring. Diamonds are also the cornerstone to the JNamdar business, along with other precious gems and metals including gold and platinum. New York just so happens to be considered the mecca for jewellery and now Singapore-based GIA Gemologist Charlotte Freeman is bringing the best of the diamond district to the Little Red Dot.
As a true global citizen, Australian-born Freeman worked in Hong Kong, London and New York, which is where she serendipitously met JNamdar founder and seasoned jewellery connoisseur Jessica Namdar, before calling Singapore home. The two women became business partners and now Freeman is at the helm of APAC Operations. Seen on the likes of supermodel Sara Sampaio and taste-maker stylist Bettina Looney, JNamdar Jewelry has quickly picked up steam with seasoned fashion and jewellery aficianados. Motivated by crafting unique, statement bespoke pieces, created with premium stones sourced from the Big Apple’s famed 47th Street, JNamdar Jewelry is aiming to shine brilliantly in Singapore.
Why did you decide that it was time to bring JNamdar Jewelry to Singapore?
I first landed on Singapore’s shores in 2014. After living here for nearly 3 years, I fell in love with the culture, the lifestyle and the energy the city brings and I always knew I wanted to return. Finally, last year I was able to call Singapore home once again, but I wanted to bring with me some of the inspirations I’d discovered abroad back with me this time.
At JNamdar, we pursue seamlessly integrating high-end jewellery into everyday life. Identifying a niche in the Singaporean market—a savvy clientele who not only recognises, but appreciates a well-crafted piece of jewellery—we wanted to bring our contemporary, luxurious designs that effortlessly transition from day to night.
Why is it a mission statement of yours to provide customers with access to the premium stone market of New York?
In the realm of gemstones, New York City reigns supreme. My business partner Jessica Namdar and her family epitomise a generational legacy rooted in trust. We have access to the world’s top suppliers and stones, setting ourselves apart from the rest. It takes generations to build.
An engagement ring, for instance, is a lifetime piece. It is something that you will wear every day for the rest of your life and is arguably the most important item you’ll ever receive. The value is not only in its meaningfulness, but let’s be honest, the monetary value as well. For something like this, people will often index on sourcing a high calibre piece and they won’t compromise on quality. It’s similar in the case of other milestone gifts like a ‘push present’ as a mother gives birth. If premium is what they are after, premium is what you’ll find in New York.
Speaking of trust, people really must put a lot of faith in the business, seeing as often orders for these items are made “sight unseen”.
Yes, it is something that doesn’t come overnight. The diamond industry is built on confidence and credence every step of the way, from trusting our suppliers, and then, in turn, our customers trusting us. We have worked hard to acquire this reputation over a long period of time. In terms of establishing ourselves as a worldwide recognised brand, that has also been an exercise in patience. Our longevity is based in our clientele and it has taken us six years to position ourselves where we are in the market today as business partners.
Additionally, we work very closely with our customers to make them feel at ease when buying a piece—it’s somewhat of a journey we go through together. This includes phone calls, back-and-forth emailing, working alongside our in-house illustrator as well as sending and editing computer designs.
When you met your business partner Jessica Namdar, you were actually the client. Why did you decide to cross to the other side and become the merchant?
I met Jess while I was searching for my own engagement ring. We had a mutual friend who insisted that I had to meet Jess. She was described as the most genuine and knowledgeable person in the industry. At that time, I had recently moved to New York and was between jobs, so it was truly the right place at the right time. Given my background in fashion, transitioning into the diamond industry felt like a natural progression for me. Now I can create pieces that I’m proud of, whether it’s seeing people wearing my pieces or being part of their engagement story.
We often hear about the four C’s—colour, cut, carat and clarity. Are these the most important things we should be thinking about when considering a diamond?
A very common misconception is that carat weight is the defining factor in the pricing of a diamond. Although this is partially true, the clarity (inclusions found in the stone) and colour play significant roles in the overall price. So in short, bigger is not always better. There are so many variables when it comes to diamonds and it was fascinating to learn about them during my studies at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The GIA being a highly regarded authority and key body in grading and evaluating diamonds, pearls and other gemstones.
Your team supplied the diamond for Emily Ratajkowski’s coveted engagement ring. Whose name would you love to see in your inbox with a jewellery request?
Yes! That was definitely a goal that anyone in the industry works towards. Being recognised at that level is a dream come true. I have a long list of celebrities whom I would love to see wearing our pieces. Hailey Bieber has always been someone I admire as she’s a style icon. Another client on my list would be Kaia Gerber, who is classy and chic. Zendaya is everyone’s “It” girl. Dua Lipa is another celebrity I’d love to see wearing our jewellery–she’s cool, fun, and seems like everyone’s best friend.
How would you describe the JNamdar aesthetic?
Our jewellery brand is modern and versatile, seamlessly transitioning from day to night. We have a penchant for bold, chunky gold pieces that exude a sense of luxury and sophistication. We love mixing metals—yellow gold and white golds. More is more in our eyes.
You also source hard-to-find, coveted vintage watches and often help clients reinvent preloved pieces or heirloom items. Tell us more about that side of the business.
The luxury diamond and watch business thrives on familial connections and trust. Jess Namdar’s family has deep ties within the industry, allowing them to procure almost any desired item. At JNamdar, we have a special affinity for vintage pieces and hold great admiration for the exceptional craftsmanship that is handed down from one generation to another. We acquired a vintage ladies’ Royal Oak in yellow gold from the 1980s by Audemars Piguet for one of our valued customers.
We also love to breathe new life into cherished pieces with memories. We recently took my mother’s aquamarine stone set in a platinum basket as a ring that she didn’t wear too often and repurposed it into a stunning necklace that she adores. This is such a lovely way to honour the past while embracing the present.
Diamond tennis necklace
Graduated Emerald cut gold band
Triple Bezel cushion diamond necklace on a wheat chain
Mini Gold diamond huggie earrings
Chaine D'ancre old European diamond bracelet
Large Colombian green emerald signet ring
Two-Tone pear diamond hoop earrings