TEFAF, MAASTRICHT 2019: Wallace Chan - Twelve necklaces, one story.
Today, world-renowned jewelry creator Wallace Chan unveiled his latest innovation in TEFAF, MAASTRICHT 2019. Well known for inventing an illusionary multi-dimensional gemstone carving technique called The Wallace Cut and being a pioneer in creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces with space-aged metal titanium, Chan debuting Wallace Chan's wearable works of art, showcasing innovations in titanium, The Wallace Chan Porcelain, patented jade technique as well as gemstone carving and setting. Chan's presenting, Twelve necklaces, one story – upon contemplation of the Chinese zodiac’s representation of time and our personal relationship to the greater universe. Each creation is a philosophical exploration of the universe, depicting stories of the past and present, and laying out his vision for the future. I have had the great pleasure of interviewing the master and here's what he said below. :-)
1. You are referred to as a Master, yet you call yourself 'Master of Failures'. How did you learn to value your failure?
Failures will always outnumber successes. Behind every stunning jewelry and groundbreaking innovation are always many broken pieces and valuable mistakes. Shattered hopes and unfulfilled dreams are only shattered and unfulfilled if you let them. When you start embracing failure, you start getting encouraged rather than discouraged by it. You start realizing that the more you fail, the closer you are to success.
Wallace Chan Portrait
2. Wallace Chan is a world-renowned jeweller and innovator who transcends the boundaries of contemporary design. His myriad successes over the past 45 years include The Wallace Cut, mastering titanium, a patented jade technology, a gemstone-within-gemstone setting technique, the Secret Abyss necklace and most recently The Wallace Chan Porcelain yet you are very down to earth. Did you ever think that you’d become a Master of your field?
Whether you are a master is something that is decided not by yourself but by history. A master is someone who reflects and affects his era and leaves behind memories that the future generations can learn from. If I were to dwell on my past success and be content, I would never be able to move forward.
3. You have said, "Porcelain is the future", what is it about porcelain that you are so drawn to?
Growing up, my siblings and I had to share a single plastic spoon when we ate, while the adults in my family used porcelain spoons. To me, the porcelain represented comfort, warmth, freedom, even – everything that was so far out of my reach. At the time, it was my future.
Years later, when I was researching titanium, my memories and knowledge of porcelain returned and porcelain played a huge part in my titanium experiment. At the time, it helped shape my future.
Seven years ago, I set out to create a new type of porcelain. I spent a great deal of time studying, researching and experimenting. And in 2018, the Wallace Chan Porcelain was born. It is five times harder than steel, and beams with luster and vibrant, gem-like colors. It will be an inseparable part of my future.
Sapphire 3pcs 6.303ct, 3.24ct and 3.17ct, Aquamarine, Diamond, Sapphire, Porcelain and Titanium
4. You are in Tefaf, Maastricht again and this time you are presenting, Twelve necklaces, one story – upon contemplation of the Chinese zodiac’s representation of time and our personal relationship to the greater universe. Why did you seek to express such spiritual interconnectedness through a wearable work of art?
Jewelry not only tells its story through imagery, but also through its materials, its texture, its luster and light. It interacts with your body, and communicates with you that way. Much like the Chinese zodiac, it travels through time and carries the history and wisdom of the universe with its gemstones, every one of which can be dated back to millions, if not billions of years ago. It carries messages from the ancient world when no words were spoken and no books written.
(Left): Yellow Diamond 1pc 2.01 ct Yellow Diamond, Diamond, Tsavorite Garnet, Pink Sapphire, Amethyst, Ruby and Titanium
(Right): Yellow Diamond 1pc 2.32 ct Yellow Diamond, Diamond, Tsavorite Garnet, Pink Sapphire, Ruby and Titanium.
5. Why Twelve necklaces, one story? What has been the most challenging obstacle you have faced during the process, and how did you overcome it?
Each zodiac sign on their own only carries 1/12 of the story, and the story is only whole when they are together. To capture the essence of their significance and meanings and integrate it into the necklaces was the most challenging obstacle I faced. Behind the Chinese zodiac signs are thousands of years of Chinese culture and the concept of time. Their influences began over a thousand years ago, and remain not just present but strong today. One of the things that I did to express such philosophy and culture was to use titanium as their bodies to represent the contemporary era, while the swirly carvings on it and the circular shape of the necklaces symbolize the infinity of life and energy and the cycle of time.
South Sea Pearl 152.12ct, Yellow Diamond 6.01ct, Sapphire, Diamond, Titanium
6. You said you are most interested in the unknown. What’s the next thing we should expect from you to come?
There is something that I started developing before I even started researching on porcelain. I can’t tell you what it is yet as it is still in the process of innovation, but I hope that I will be able to share my research results with you in the near future!