Born: Fuzhou, China
All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.
In 1973, Wallace Chan became a gemstone-carving apprentice and started his journey of creation which has continued for over 40 years. A high level of curiosity and a strong thirst for knowledge have been behind his constant experiments in gemstone cutting, carving, setting, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and metal soldering. Navigating through numerous twists and turns, he strives for the ultimate perfection in his creations. As an exceptionally perceptive person, he embraces the experiences and energy coming from interacting with materials and incorporates them in the fine details of his pieces. As a creator, he infuses his passion, dreams, and philosophies in each of his pieces which elicit intense visual aesthetic perceptions and evoke strong emotional responses in viewers.
Over the long history of jewelry making, Wallace Chan has stood out with unconventional creations to mark his uniqueness. After 8 years of independent research, he discovered and mastered the technology to use titanium, a light-weight but strong metal, in jewelry. He invented the jadeite thinning and luminosity-enhancing technology and received a patent for it. His unique Wallace Cut, an illusionary carving technique, is truly extraordinary. Innovation has been a key attribute in everything Wallace Chan does, from materials, craftsmanship, and tools, to styles of creation, subject matters, exploration of symbolic connotations, and ways of exhibition presentation. Constant innovation has put him at the forefront of the jewelry world of our time.
In recent years, Wallace Chan has been featured extensively in international media. He is also the first Chinese jewelry artist to showcase his creations at several international exhibitions: Masterpiece London (2017 & 2016), TEFAF (2017 & 2016, Maastricht & New York), and Biennale des Antiquaires (2012 & 2014, Paris). In 2015, his very first illustrated monograph was published by Rizzoli. In the same year, he was invited by Christie’s to hold a solo exhibition at the HKCEC. He was invited to deliver talks at Central Saint Martins (2017, London), the V&A Museum (2016, London), and the Cooper Hewitt Museum (2015, New York).
Wallace Chan praises life and nature through the charm of gemstones with limitless imagination and creative talent. He is recognized as a top jewelry creator, artist and innovator.
The Wallace Cut was invented in 1987 by Wallace Chan. It is an illusionary carving technique based on reverse thinking, combined with precise calculation, gem faceting, and 360-degree intaglio, to create multiple reflections. Wallace Chan also invented tools for it and had to complete the carving process in water to prevent damage to the stone by dissipating heat generated by the modified dental drill. This highly original three-dimensional intaglio creates mysterious illusions on a transparent stone and established Wallace Chan’s status as a master sculptor.
Patented Jade Technique
Jade has always been highly valued by the Chinese. With a smooth and glossy texture, jade evokes feelings of nostalgia. However, applying jade in contemporary jewelry design calls for a modern take on it. Wallace Chan’s profound knowledge of light and jade enabled him to invent the jade refining and brightening technique to send light racing and pulsating along jade surfaces. Green refractions then magnify each other and sharpen the deep green colors. This technique received a patent of invention in 2002.
Titanium is a sought-after material for modern technology. It is strong, light, hypoallergenic and colorful. In traditional jewelry pieces, gold or platinum is often used to set gemstones. But the weight of titanium is only 1/5 of that of gold with the same volume. Wallace Chan spent 8 years on the research of titanium before mastering it in jewelry creation. Using titanium to set gemstones means the jewelry creation is light and comfortable to wear. Moreover, the use and visibility of metal in between stones could be minimized. At Baselworld 2007, Wallace Chan turned a new page in the world of haute joaillerie with his “sculptural art creations that are wearable”.
In traditional jewelry making techniques, metal claws are often used to set gemstones. However, Wallace Chan always tries to minimize the use of metal in order to reveal the stone’s colors, brilliance and charm to the greatest extent possible. Following this line of thought, he invented the technique to set one gemstone with another: “diamond claw setting method” and “inner mortise and tenon setting method”. The former allows diamonds and other gemstones to function as claws to secure gemstones in place. The latter is a method inspired by the Ming-style furniture (15-17 BC), famous for their mortise and tenon joints. Gemstones are given special cuts to form mortise and tenon joints so they could fit perfectly without the use of metal claws.
The setting of this creation is magical and mysterious and took ten years from concept to completion. Through a 6.5mm opening, Wallace Chan drilled and polished a tunnel of 42x7mm inside the rutilated quartz before setting 1111 emeralds to form the auspicious cloud pattern. When you look at it, it is like a secret abyss with gleaming, meandering clouds.
From drilling, polishing, to setting, the entire creation process required extraordinary focus and determination, similar to what a magician needs