Diamonds are for men too, says actor Desmond Tan, Latest Fashion News - The New Paper

Diamonds are for men too, says actor Desmond Tan

Diamonds are not just a girl’s best friend – they can be a man’s too. 

As home-grown jeweller Lee Hwa Jewellery’s first celebrity ambassador, Singaporean actor Desmond Tan hopes the partnership will encourage more men to “be brave and express themselves, as life is too short”. 

In the campaign’s promotional pictures, the 37-year-old is draped in a suite of diamond accessories. He says the earrings, necklace, bracelet and ring – part of Lee Hwa’s Destinee Espoir collection – are not just for women.

“These pieces can be worn by guys and girls – just get the right size,” Tan tells The Straits Times in a Zoom interview. 

Seen as one of the most stylish local male celebrities, the Mediacorp artiste reveals he owns clothing and jewellery designed for women, believing “there is not much of a boundary between genders” in fashion.

As a child, he often used his mum’s jewellery to accessorise his outfits. Now, as the first Singaporean actor to have been invited to attend fashion weeks in Paris and Milan in 2023 and 2024, his conviction that fashion is genderless has only grown stronger. 

“During my fashion week tours, I got to understand that the whole idea of design isn’t centred on gender,” says Tan. “How you look doesn’t just come from the outside, but comes two ways – what you feel inside and what you put effort into expressing.” 

Yet, the strongest fashion principle he follows came from his army officer during his national service days: Dress to impress. “He once told me that if you don’t leave an impression, it’s as good as having never met someone before.”

The one piece of advice he would give to men looking to accessorise with bling? “If you’re putting more emphasis on the jewellery, play down the dressing. You don’t want to look like a Christmas tree.” 

As the new face of Lee Hwa, Tan will be fronting campaigns for the brand’s Destinee line of triple excellent diamonds, highly valued for their cut, polish and symmetry, as well as the ItalGold line of Italian-made 916 gold jewellery. 

He believes men should educate themselves more on diamonds. After all, “they are the ones purchasing the most important diamond in their lifetime” – the engagement ring.

Tan himself proposed to his university sweetheart in 2016, while on holiday in the United States. The couple tied the knot in 2021 and have a three-month-old daughter.

Despite having some knowledge of diamonds prior to the Lee Hwa partnership, Tan says he learnt from the company’s experts that the most important part of a diamond is its cut – one of the four Cs other than colour, clarity and carat weight.

“A good diamond with an excellent cut will have a certain brilliance you can see from afar, whether it’s big or small,” he says.  

The opportunity comes as a full-circle moment for Tan, who coincidentally purchased his first diamond from Lee Hwa more than a decade ago. He reveals that it was a diamond pendant necklace for a loved one.

He says his experiences travelling the world and collaborating with luxury maisons such as Tiffany & Co and Cartier to create online content fuelled the latest tie-up with a brand closer to home. Being able to “open his mind” and appreciate the finer details gave him a new-found regard for Lee Hwa’s collections. 

Unsurprisingly, Tan has always had foresight when it comes to fashion – something a friend recently reminded him of.

“I predicted back then that the market would change, as guys will be more open about the beauty and skincare products they use. Eventually, I was invited by a beauty brand to talk about lipsticks. Now, men around me are paying more attention to personal grooming,” he says. 

Tan may be a new dad, but he does not see his fashion choices prioritising comfort or his personal brand shifting away from acting any time soon. 

“I feel really good about where I am in life. My style is constantly changing, just as life is,” he says. “Acting is my first love and my greatest passion, and it still really excites me.”