MMA fighter and Muay Thai champ delves into family jewellery business
He packed a punch as a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and seven-time Muay Thai champion, and even went on to the ONE Championship stage.
But after more than a decade in the sport, Mr Ronald Low is taking a break from the ring after suffering a spinal injury and is starting another career in the meantime.
He and his fiancee Sarah Tan, a former nurse, are now bringing the sparkle to local jeweller IVY Masterpiece, which was founded by Mr Low's mother Ivy Choa, 56, in 2013.
The couple, who are both 29 and joined the family business in 2014, hope to appeal to a younger audience by "changing mindsets".
Their older clientele tend to purchase investment pieces, but younger customers are more "experience driven".
As a next-generation jeweller, Mr Low told The New Paper: "They will buy when they have a good experience. We hope that by creating a pleasant environment and giving a personalised touch, we will give them the IVY experience. It comes from the heart."
That includes customising hand-crafted pieces according to clients' requests and having unveiling ceremonies for new gems. A few hundred of their creations, including a 20-carat indicolite (a rare blue tourmaline) with diamond ring worth $100,000 and the Ultimate Bracelet, comprising 21 pieces of one-carat diamonds priced at $330,000, will be showcased at the ongoing Singapore International Jewelry Expo (SIJE) - the region's largest consumer jewellery show, with more than 200 exhibitors from 25 countries.
IVY Masterpiece has been part of the annual event since SIJE's inception in 2013.
Mr Low and Miss Tan studied under the GIA Graduate Gemologist programme in Hong Kong in 2013, which armed them with deep knowledge and hands-on experience in handling different stones.
The career switch was not a tough decision for Miss Tan, as it was about translating her "passion for people" from her nursing days at Singapore General Hospital to thoughtful customer service.
In Mr Low's case, it was a personal choice of wanting to "help in the family business", especially when his mother has been in the jewellery line for 39 years.
He said: "I grew up in the jewellery shop she worked at until I was 16 or 17, and it piqued my interest when I saw her with customers. They always looked happy and she made many good friends."
He developed a passion for natural gemstones and is fascinated by the "perfect conditions" needed to create them.
These "perfect conditions" had to be met when he was looking for an engagement ring for Miss Tan, his girlfriend of nine years, whom he joked had high expectations.
Mr Low, who spent two years sourcing for the US$50,000 (S$69,000) two-carat diamond emerald-cut sparkler, said: "I was fussy about it. The proportions had to be perfect."
WHAT Singapore International Jewelry Expo 2017
WHERE Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Expo and Convention Centre, Halls A & B
WHEN Today, 11.30am-8.30pm, till Sunday, 11.30am-7.30pm
ENTRY Admission is free
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now