With a career spanning five decades, Wallace Chan has become a prominent figure in the world of contemporary jewellery. The visionary artist transcends conventional boundaries with his unparalleled creativity and cutting-edge designs which are characterised by their intricate details, imaginative concepts, and innovative use of materials.
Wallace Chan’s artistic creations go beyond painstaking craftsmanship; they embody profound spiritual contemplation. Every element woven into his jewellery conveys a philosophical essence, transforming each piece into a meaningful messenger. Chan’s artistic journey reflects a fusion of cultural influences, particularly his Chinese heritage and his exposure to Western art and techniques.
His numerous groundbreaking creations illustrate Chan’s remarkable journey, including the famous Wallace Chan Porcelain, renowned for being five times stronger than steel. Furthermore, the Chinese creator stands as a pioneer in the jewellery industry, exploring new gemstone setting techniques and mastering the use of titanium in his works.
Wallace Chan is constantly pushing the boundaries of craftsmanship, among his latest achievements is the conception of The Secret Abyss Necklace. This masterpiece is a true testimony of Chan’s determination and craft skills. A rutilated quartz is meticulously carved from within through a 6.5mm whole and an intricate arrangement of 1,111 pieces of emeralds are set inside the clear stone, creating a floating green maze.
With its strong symbolism, the butterfly stands as a recurring motif in Wallace Chan’s work. The ‘Forever Dancing – Wind’s Tale’ brooch balances the butterfly’s delicacy with the strength of titanium. Art meets nature as genuine butterfly wings are captured beneath carved rock crystal. The process is carried out under vacuum, a feat achieved after extensive experimentation to preserve the wings’ iridescence and fragile scales. The piece is brought to life with a myriad of morganites, pink sapphires, tsavorite garnets and diamonds.
Yet another astounding art piece is the Quatrain Ring, whose name embodies the rhythmic and mirrored essence of its composition. This voluminous ring displays a dazzling complexity of setting techniques. Four pearls are seamlessly enveloped in a Wallace Chan Porcelain frame which holds a 12.28 carat tsavorite garnet at its center. Devoid of prongs, the green gemstone seems to float and its clarity and transparency contrasts against the smooth and opaque white porcelain.
These three fascinating jewels will be displayed alongside 150 other Wallace Chan jewels at Christie’s from 4th to 10th September 2023, in London. Titled ‘The Wheel of Time,’ this remarkable showcase is the most extensive exhibition held by the pioneering creator and encapsulates Chan’s artistic journey and innovative progress over the past fifty years. With the gracious loans of Chan’s collectors, the 150 pieces are an unparalleled testament to the ingenuity of the Chinese jeweller. Time is continual inspiration in Chan’s work: ‘Time is an eternal wheel that rotates for infinity with neither beginning nor end. In the creative process, time is a theme so intangible, yet omnificent.’
Click here to watch an Instagram reel about Wallace Chan. Credit: Eline Ewbank from The Jewellery Stalker
Click here to watch an Instagram reel about the Shoulder Brooch and Sculpture Legend of the Color. Credit: Maria Doulton & The Jewellery Editor
Click here to watch an Instagram reel about the Wallace Cut technique seen in The Hours necklace. Credit: Maria Doulton & The Jewellery Editor
Revolutionizing the high jewellery world, Wallace Chan is driven by a thirst for knowledge and boundless creativity. Research and experimentation are fundamental parts of his creation process, challenging established norms of traditional jewellery.
Forever Dancing Wind’s Tale brooch by Wallace Chan. The butterfly is a powerful symbol of metamorphose and time, two philosophical concepts that resonate with Chan’s inspiration. The winged motif is much appreciated in high jewellery, translating its fragility and transforming its ephemeral beauty into a timeless creation.
Shoulder Brooch and Sculpture Legend of the Color by Wallace Chan.
A New Generation Ring by Wallace Chan (permanent collection of the British Museum). It is the first piece of jewellery ever made with the Wallace Chan Porcelain, a material that required seven years of research and development to give strength to this delicate material.
Secret Abyss necklace by Wallace Chan, set with yellow diamond, quartz, emerald, amethyst and diamonds. The Chinese inventor is a precursor in titanium jewellery. Its genius recognized the potential of the modern material for its lightness, hardness and its colouring ability, which strongly supports Chan’s creativity.
Quatrain ring by Wallace Chan. Not all elements in Wallace Chan’s creations are visible or obvious to the eye. The visionary artist encourages the wearer to pay close attention to details and observe the piece under all angles in order to unveil its secrets.
Wallace Chan with the shoulder brooch and sculpture Legend of the Color. Credit photo Eline Ewbank.
The cut technique seen in The Hours necklace by Wallace Chan.