MANILA, Philippines -- Goldenhills Jewelry launched its new wedding product, a set of branded arrhae, last Saturday at the opening of the Themes and Motifs Wedding Expo at the SMX Convention Center.
Arrhae, which are called "arras" by most Filipinos, are the coins presented by the groom to the bride as a symbol of his promise to provide for his family.
At Saturday's launch at the Wedding Expo, which runs until Sunday, September 9, Antonio "Boy" Atienza, owner of Goldenhills Jewelry, noted that many Filipino couples forget about their arrhae after the wedding.
So what he did was to increase the value of the coins by making them into collectibles, with each coin inscribed a particular virtue and even came up with a brand name "Endless Treasures."
Atienza said he started conceptualizing the product two years ago. "I never finished it until middle part of this year," he said, adding that he has since given the project to his daughter, Auda, who is now the manager for Endless Treasures.
Among the reasons for the long development process was coming up with the 13 virtues to inscribe on the coins.
"Significantly, the most challenging part was also what initially inspired me the most. It was about conceptualizing the virtues," explained Auda, who is a devout Christian.
"These virtues are not only essential for those who are building a relationship of love with God. After interviewing different couples, as well as successful people, believers and non-believers of God, and researching about different cultures, we verified that these virtues actually resemble the very same virtues that are important for most couples and individuals who want a fruitful life and lasting relationship."
These virtues are: love, wisdom, discipline, spirituality, optimism, forgiveness, trust, gentleness, gratitude, respect, integrity, passion and perseverance.
Atienza explained that the 13 coins symbolize Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles.
Because of the universality of the 13 virtues, Atienza said the arrhae set can also be used in non-wedding settings from birthdays, baptisms and other special occasions since "anybody who lives with these virtues. I'm sure he'll live a good life."
"Ang unang-una bumili sa amin is for a graduation. She was giving it to an apo as a constant reminder that she has to live with the virtues on it," Atienza recalled.
Although the arras are usually placed inside a pouch and held by the coin-bearer during weddings, Endless Treasures has also devised a way to make the arras "last."
It has developed -- and even patented -- a picture frame where the arras can be displayed.
"The good thing with this is that after the wedding you can frame it and it will be a constant reminder of the virtues," Atienza said.
The actual coins are made of brass and then plated with gold, silver or a combination of gold and silver. They are then sealed in plastic covers to prevent the coins from easily tarnishing and being scratched.
"We do have a top-of-the-line, limited edition in pure silver. It's on a made to order basis and it costs P80,000 but it's pure silver. Well-made naman siya, maganda ang design and maganda 'yung stamping niya," said Atienza, whose jewelry factory is located in Meycauayan, Bulacan.
As of the moment, the coins can't be bought individually as they are sold as a set of 13. Those who want to give it as a souvenir are encouraged to buy a set and distribute the coins separately.
Initially available at Goldenhills Jewelry outlets, Atienza said they also plan to market Endless Treasures nationwide through dealers.