Australian Mark Armstrong and Indonesian Perry Josito set up men's jewellery brand John Ferdinand last year when they couldn't find what they were looking for in boutiques. 'It's hard for men to find nice jewellery,' says Armstrong, who moved to Hong Kong in 1994 as a marketing and PR specialist before setting up a marketing consultancy business. 'We design for the global nomad, like many of our friends who were born and raised somewhere, but are living in another place or constantly travelling. Being men, we understand men and what they want.' The brand's name comes from the pair's middle names; Josito takes care of sourcing and other aspects of the business, while Armstrong focuses on the designs. Their debut collection comprises six pieces, including pendants, cufflinks and belt buckles, all made of rhodium-plated silver (to avoid tarnishing) and ebony wood from a sustainable plantation on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. 'We chose [these two materials] because of the harmony and balance between the ancient sensuality of wood and the modernity of silver,' Armstrong says. Inspired by his surroundings, Armstrong designed the first piece - the Destiny pendant made of an ebony wood disc with a silver core inspired by traditional Chinese jade pendants - in a cafe in Wan Chai's Star Street. 'I don't like green jade, so I took the inspiration from an iconic piece to make it contemporary,' he says. 'I noticed what men in different professions were wearing and started to draw a profile of what they want and need. 'We think jewellery is very emotional and what they're lacking in their lives is that grounding, so that's where some of the inspirations came from.' The debut collection also includes the pebble-shaped Devotion pendant inspired by a water-rafting trip on the River Au Yung in Bali; the oval-shaped Opportunity cufflinks with silver inlaid; and the rectangular-shaped Urbanity buckle made from one piece of wood crafted into six pieces with silver inlaid, adding weight to the piece. 'Our pieces are made in Bali. The silver part is cast, but there's a lot of hand-finishing involved and each piece has to be polished by hand for a day,' says Armstrong. The brand is expanding the Dreamer collection to include rings and bracelets, and a second collection is scheduled to be launched before Christmas. Plans are also under way for leather goods and other products for men. 'Our idea is to create a contemporary lifestyle brand for men, but for now we want to learn more about our customers, who they are and what they like,' says Armstrong. The designer advises men looking to buy jewellery to find something they can connect with. 'Say, you like the design, the shape or the materials,' Armstrong says. 'It could be a pendant that nobody else sees under your suit, but it has some meaning to you. 'Whether it reminds you of a place, a person, a time in your life or an emotion, it has to connect with you.' Shopping list John Ferdinand johnferdinand.com The brand will launch its first jewellery collection online tomorrow.