Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A most coveted Crystal

My 10th year of membership in the Swarovski Crystal Society ("SCS") marks the first time I've actually attended its yearly event of unveiling the Annual Edition crystal figurine. Hosted by the Rustan's Group in their flagship store in Makati City, the occasion was graced by its passionate and loyal members who were thrilled to find out what's in store for them for the year. This year, Ambassador Wilhelm Maximillian Donko of Austria to the Philippines had the honor of unveiling Polar Bear, Siku, Swarovski's 2011 Annual Edition. The ceremony was highlighted by lavish cocktails and an opportunity to take a first look at the coveted figurine as well as other exquisite pieces.

The Swarovski Crystal Society

Swarovski created the SCS for its global network of crystal enthusiasts, which now has close to 325,000 members worldwide. Each member is privileged to receive, among others, an annual crystal membership gift, free subscription to Swarovski magazine, invites to Swarovski special events, access to the members-only area at the Swarovski website, the opportunity to purchase pieces especially designed and crafted only for its members such as the Annual Edition, and endless perks at the enchanting Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in Wattens and Innsbruck, Austria. What of the free admission and VIP treatment at the Crystal Worlds' VIP Lounge to start with? All these privileges are exclusive to SCS members.

Siku, the Polar Bear

Since its inception in 1987, the SCS has been offering the Annual Edition to its members. Siku is a masterpiece, which, combined with its rarity, makes it a truly coveted object d’art. The Annual Edition can only be purchased during the current year and is exclusively sold to SCS members. While these figurines are independent pieces, they have nonetheless been presented in a themed trilogy. Recently, from 2008-2010, the Swarovski presented the trilogy of Endangered Wildlife: “Pandas” in 2008, “Gorillas” in 2009 and “Tiger” in 2010. Prior to this, from 2005-2007, the trilogy was themed, Wonders of the Sea, and presented “Harmony Clownfish” in 2005, “Eternity Turtles” in 2006 and “Community Banner Fish” in 2007. This year is the first time that Swarovski is deviating from its trilogy, says Joy Yong, Swarovski’s multi-brand sales manager in charge of Southeast Asia’s markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Polar Bear Siku is the first Annual Edition that Swarovski has ever introduced independent of a trilogy.

Siku, whose name stands for “ice” in Inuit, is one of the well-loved animals in the Arctic. Siku radiates sophistication amidst a harsh and seemingly uninhabitable environment. This region happens to be close to Swarovski’s heart because of its long-standing link with water. It founded the Swarovski Water School program, which is dedicated to educating children about sustainable water management. And no less than renowned crystal designer, Anton Hirzinger, created this tour de force. Siku is crafted in faceted crystal moonlight, with its eyes and nose in gleaming jet crystal. And like the rest of the Annual Edition pieces, it comes with the title plaque.

Another first for Swarovski are the Polar Bear Cubs, which come in two varieties: the classic crystal moonlight and the white opal crystal effect. SCS members may choose to purchase the very first white opal piece or opt for the more classic crystal moonlight. Swarovski also offers other exquisite pieces to SCS members in 2011: the SCS pendant, bracelet and pierced earrings 2011 in the lovely color of Provence Lavende. A special SCS Ballpoint Pen 2011 is also available to members in the same color. The pen is filled with carefully selected clear crystal chatons with an Arctic crystal charm that swings delicately at the top end. And as if these are not enough, each member receives the Arctic Flower Ornament as gift for 2011.

Changes in Swarovski Philippines

According to Yong, Swarovski is expanding its exposure in the Philippines. From a space inside the Rustan’s Department Store in Makati, Swarovski now has its very own boutique at the ground floor. The Rustan’s Tower branch of Swarovski at Shangri-La Plaza will follow suit. And we look forward to the change happening at the Alabang and Gateway stores as well. In addition to the figurines, Swarovski intends to bring in its line of accessories as well, including one of my favorites—The Swarovski pen. The pen will soon be out in stores in hues of black, white, red, purple and pink.

I was privileged to sit tête-à-tête with Ms. Yong at this intimate affair.  And what better way than to take notes with my Swarovski pen.  After all, I enjoy being a part of the fascinating world of Swarovski.

The annual edition costs P27,500 with the title plaque.  Each pair of cubs costs P19,500.

Published in Manila Standard Today at <>

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