How an “abundance of beauty” made room for many an opportunity
Our story began in 196 when the late Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ng Teck Fong had just returned from his studies abroad. Heart and mind set on becoming at the forefront of the jewellery business, he made many innovative decisions that would carve the path to success.
The word “Tomei”, when translated from Chinese to English means “an abundance of beauty” — a moniker which, at the time, already bore a stark contrast to every other jeweller name in the market.
Another possible form of translation would be “very beautiful”, which aptly reflects Tomei’s promise then and now of creating beautiful and evergreen jewellery masterpieces.
The late Tan Sri Ng, who set the tone for the brand from the very beginning, ensured that not only would its name set the brand apart from the others, but that its technology too would be cutting-edge.
And so, with four years of experience in the gold jewellery business under his belt, an initial capital of RM5,000 and four employees, he embarked on a journey that would change the landscape of local jewellery forever.
Branching out of businesses
Through sheer hard work and determination, Tan Sri Ng was responsible for modernising the traditional way of jewellery-making.
As goldsmiths and jewellers in the 1970s depended heavily on manual craftsmanship, Tan Sri Ng broke boundaries by introducing a carving machine from Japan. As a result, Tomei produced gold jewellery that met stringent international standards which were subsequently supplied to other goldsmith retailers, paving the way for the diversification of the Tomei brand into wholesale.
These instances alone proved how Tomei was no mere jewellery brand, but a successful, professional and corporate business that was willing to try new things, constantly innovating to stay relevant and always on top of the game.
From refinery to retail
As the only integrated group in Malaysia, if not Asia, Tomei has an illustrious and impressive timeline. Having started from refinery before expanding into manufacturing, wholesale and exporting, Tomei also became part of history as the first jeweller to branch out into retail.
It became the first-ever jeweller to open an outlet at Malaysia’s first high-rise shopping complex, Campbell Shopping Complex, in 1973. New retail outlets soon followed, first in Pertama Complex and then Sungei Wang Plaza — both prime shopping malls in the 1970s and the 1980s.
As Tomei’s retail business expanded, so did its portfolio. New technologies like computerised management systems were implemented, and in time, an Italian refining machine was added to their repertoire of machines and utilised to refine old gold jewellery.
In 1997, Tomei formed a joint venture with Eugen Schofer GmBH & Co, a world-renowned chain manufacturer. This development subsequently allowed Tomei to become the frontrunner of automated chain manufacturers. Together with Eugen Schofer, Tomei produced a gold and silver jewellery series that raised the standard of design and quality in Malaysia.
In 2007, more success followed as Tomei acquired Le Lumiere – Diamonds of Light. Known for its one-of-a-kind designs, Le Lumiere emphasises a diamond’s Ideal Proportions, Perfect Hearts and symmetry of Arrows.
As such, every diamond is meticulously cut with precise angles, symmetry and proportions — all of which ensure that their facets reflect light, exhibiting an extraordinary brilliance and sparkle.
Each diamond also comes with GIA Triple Excellent grading to deliver an optimum display of scintillating brilliance.
In December 2012, Tomei also became an exclusive distributor of De Beers in Malaysia, marking yet another triumph and accomplishment for the brand and business as a whole. As a reputable Malaysian jeweller, Tomei is also in partnership with famous brands that employ their own unique style and craftsmanship, such as Prima Gold from Thailand.
To further add to its portfolio, Tomei has also gained exclusive distribution rights from the World Gold Council for Xifu Chinese Wedding Collection Jewellery in Malaysia. Last but not least, to cater to collectors and children, Tomei also holds the license from Sanrio to manufacture and sell gold jewellery based on characters from Hello Kitty and My Melody.
Today, Tomei distributes a wide range of jewellery under four distinguished brands, namely Tomei (which consists of its own range of gold products such as Anastasia, Chomel Charms, Eternal Binding and Icons of Malaysia), Goldheart, Le Lumiere and De Beers.
Besides having more than 50 retail outlets throughout Malaysia, Tomei also exports its products to the Asian and European markets. Tomei was also listed in Bursa Malaysia since 2006, successfully transforming what was once a small family business into a full-fledged corporate business.
This marked a period when the late Tan Sri Ng and his next generation, who had helped build the business, enlisted the expertise of independent board members to oversee the direction and development of Tomei to build the customers’ faith and confidence in the brand’s authenticity.
Among the key figures of Tomei’s board members include former CEO of Affin Bank and Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad, Yang Mulia Raja Tan Sri Dato Seri Aman bin Raja Haji Ahmad who currently serves as the non-executive chairman; former senior banker and licensed dealer’s representative Datin Nonadiah binti Abdullah; Barrister-at-law of Inner Temple London, Datuk M Chareon Sae Tang, and the managing partner of Grant Thornton Malaysia(Penang office), Mr Lau Tiang Hua.
Led by a capable team of highly skilled individuals who are key figures and authorities in their own rights and fields, Tomei has amassed the following accolades throughout the recent years:
- Most Outstanding Malaysian Brand Award 2019, awarded by Branding Association of Malaysia
- National Mark of “Malaysian Brand” by SME Corporation since 2010.
- Tomei is also certified with ISO 9001 in the Quality Management System for its retailing in gold and jewellery products from Lloyd’s Register since 2003.
Giving back for the greater good
Despite all the success, achievements and accomplishments that Tomei has garnered over the many years, the group has never forgotten what matters most: giving back to society.
Since its establishment, Tomei has made it part of its mission to provide and contribute financial assistance to the community.
In a true reflection of a community-minded company with a charitable mindset, Tomei shows its commitment and honours its responsibility to the community, while hoping to give back more in the future.
Changes brought on by Covid-19
Not one to rest on its laurels, Tomei took the bull by its horns in the face of Covid-19, embarking on its e-commerce plan to keep in line with the digital age.
Aside from keeping abreast of the jewellery market, Tomei had also been promoting its products on social media and selling on several multi-channel platforms, long before the pandemic hit.
This is a testament to the brand’s belief in adapting and staying relevant no matter the circumstances or situation. If anything, the pandemic served to speed up most of the digital processes that Tomei was working on, and in 2021, the brand launched its first e-magazine, https://www.tomeijewel.com.
Looking and moving forward
Despite the challenges that may come Tomei’s way, there is no doubt that it will continue to shine bright in its quest to remain the number one choice for every single celebration, festivity and special occasion.
Just as the late Tan Sri Ng once made a promise to adapt, evolve and stay true to the times, we, the team at Tomei, will continue to prove that it will always stay a cut above the rest.
There’s no doubt that we will hold true to Tomei’s vision of being the trusted jeweller of choice both in providing exemplary customer service and evergreen jewellery designs so that our customers continue to grow through the generations to come.
After all, a gorgeous piece of jewellery may just be an accessory but a timeless one is a legacy.