Wallace Chan Gears up for the Biennale des Antiquaires


Two years ago Wallace Chan became the first Asian jewelry designer invited to the prestigious Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris and he is returning this year with 38 unique creations that bring together his love of nature and Chinese philosophy. From galloping horses to a fish, a swan, and a flurry of butterflies, the Hong Kong-based jeweler has created a stunning menagerie of glittering jewels. One of the stand-out pieces is The Mighty, a large ant brooch with two unusually shaped Japanese pearls making up her body, along with pink tourmalines, diamonds, and yellow sapphires. Her slim titanium legs are also covered in tiny yellow diamonds, further adorned with gemstones (round and star-shaped). The Mighty improbably carries in its raised front legs a 21.41 carat rubellite. Chan said he has always been impressed by the hard work and team spirit of ant colonies, “An ant can carry 100 times its weight. Titanium can’t achieve that feat, but mother nature can, it’s almost a miracle. When I create something I want to achieve almost the impossible.” he explained in an interview.

Chan rose to international attention in 1987 with the Wallace Cut, a gem-carving method that combines medieval cameo and intaglio techniques to create a 3-D illusion inside the stone. He is also known for his innovation with titanium, and gem-setting techniques he has developed, such as his “diamond claw” setting which uses diamonds and other gems as settings in lieu of metal.

Amongst his other standout designs shown at the Biennale will be the Gleams of Waves brooch, a ruby and pink sapphire fish with billowing diaphanous fins which humorously sprouts yellow diamond “bubbles” from its mouth, including one that weighs 6.68 carats, and the Graceland ring, which utilizes part of a porcelain teapot decorated with diamond and pink sapphires. “I bought this teapot many years ago when I could barely afford it, and one day I carelessly cracked it by pouring water that was too hot. I kept it all those years for sentimental reason and then I had the idea to use the lid and give it new life,” he mused.

The Biennale des Antiquaires will run Sep 11 - 21.

as first published on Blouin Artinfo.com