More and more frequently, millennials are thumbing their noses at tradition and opting for understated and subtle bridal jewelry. This global trend indicates that millennial couples are increasingly seeking unique rings which reflect their personalities. Since wedding rings are a piece one wears every day, it only makes sense that rings should be more about personal style and self-expression rather than being an outdated, clunky status symbol.
It’s a refreshing change, freeing women from the conventional conformity of “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and if you are seeking an alternative to this ubiquitous stone, Vietnam is a great place to do it. Vietnam is a very cost-effective country both for designing and purchasing custom jewelry because there are many precious stones mined in the country including the beautiful Vietnamese red ruby, sapphires, emeralds, garnets, jade, opal, aquamarine, amber, quarts and, of course, diamonds.
Vy Doan, the owner of Made by Mun, a small contemporary jewelry store located on an unassuming side street in D1, has been helping couples create unique handcrafted jewelry and alternative bridal pieces since 2014.
Vy, known to most by her childhood nickname Mun began making jewelry in her 20’s and is self-taught. She recalls that the first piece she ever made was a bangle for her aunt. “It was made of copper wire and beads and it twisted all around; it was a bit wild because life is too short to wear boring jewelry.” Before she knew it, people were noticing her aunt’s bangle and requesting one for themselves. She slowly began to make more and more pieces and sell them at local flea markets. One day, a couple approached her to help create their wedding bands and Mun was only too happy to oblige. From that day forward she said goodbye to copper wire and cheap beads and moved towards using higher quality materials like silver, gold, rose gold, white gold, and precious gems.
“Every customer comes to me with a story and my job is to help translate this story into a unique piece which they will treasure,” says Mun. Since opening her doors in 2014, Mun has helped countless couples create unique pieces to express themselves and is known for the subtle beauty and the organic asymmetry of her pieces. “I don’t like things to be too perfect, I need to feel the soul of a piece in my hand,” says Mun.
One of her most unique designs is her “fingerprint rings”. Essentially, the couple’s fingerprints are engraved into the surface of the custom rings making them truly unique and understated, because sometimes love doesn’t have to be so showy and loud.
Today Made by Mun has grown into a full-service shop. Mun employs several people including three jewelry craftsmen as well as a couple of 3D designers in her own workshop in Binh Than district. Together they design and create real “soulmate” pieces of jewelry with high-quality gemstones which come with a certificate of authenticity.
Apart from contemporary and unique bridal jewelry, Mun has also launched a project very dear to her heart. It’s called the “Saigon Project.” It includes a collection of earrings, pendants, cufflinks, and rings based on famous Saigon landmarks like the Bitexco Tower as well as iconic Vietnamese symbols such as the motorbike.
If you are looking to say “I do” or simply want to buy something special for a loved one or a treat for yourself, Vietnam is the perfect place to make this type of purchase. With its highly skilled craftsmen, affordable price point and a beautiful array of gemstones mined in the country, artists such as Mun can guide you through the process of creating a truly unique “perfectly imperfect” custom design made with the soul that will bring you joy every day.
‘Made by Mun’ is located at 31T Cao Ba Nha, D1, HCMC
Naomi Sutorius –Lavoie is a freelance writer and Canadian transplant who lives in HCMC, Vietnam.