Q&A: Wallace Chan

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Wallace Chan is a world-renowned jewellery maker and innovator. After leaving school at 13, and becoming a jewellers apprectice, he opened his own workshop in 1974. His 45 years (and counting) in the industry has been landmarked by innovation. His breakthrough techniques have revolutionised the jewellery industry, notably taming titanium for use in high jewellery and creating unbreakable porcelain. He answers the Benchpeg Q&A...

What’s your name, and what do you for a living?

WC: I am Wallace Chan, a jewellery creator and sculptor.

How did you come to work in the jewellery industry?

WC: I began as a gemstone carving apprentice in 1973. In 1974, I founded my own gemstone carving workshop by the fire escape of the building I lived in. I was 17 years old.


How would you describe your work to someone who doesn’t know it?

WC: My works are best described with their own shapes, forms, colours, light and textures. They are created to translate messages from the universe.
What is your creative process?

WC: My creative process is not a step-by-step linear process. It is many things happening at once all the time.

Where do you love to shop?

WC: Art fairs, antique shops and flea markets.

What is your inspiration?

WC: Everything is my inspiration. Inspiration comes from how we see, feel and connect with the world. The key is to have an open heart.

What piece of jewellery do you most treasure?

WC: Nothing I have is truly mine. If I hold on to the past, I have no room for the future. The piece I treasure most may be the piece that I have in my mind – the piece that I have not yet brought to life.

Is there a particular tune, song or soundtrack to your life?

WC: Every time I hear The Butterfly Lovers, I can feel tears in my eyes. I have created a lot of butterflies in my 45-year creative journey, and listening to The Butterfly Lovers at a young age helped me understand butterflies as a symbol of undying, eternal love.

If you could only be remembered for one piece of your work, what would it be?

WC: It is too early for me to say. I am still creating and I will be creating for the rest of my life.

What would be your advice to someone starting out in the industry?

WC: Everything is difficult. But nothing is impossible.

The Benchpeg Proust Q&A

1. What’s your favourite work of art?

WC: Nature is my favourite work of art.

2. Who from past or present would you invite to a dinner party for the evening?

WC: Michelangelo, Piet Mondrian, Dali, René Magritte… Too many!

3. What is your most treasured possession?

WC: Time. Without time, nothing can be done.

4. What would you consider a perfect day?

WC: A day in my workshop.

5. What advice would tell your younger self?

WC: Learn English! I began learning my English at 60 years old, now I am 63. I wish I started earlier.

6. Can you sum yourself up in one word?

WC: Curiosity.

7. What motto do you live by?

WC: Think good thoughts, do good deeds and say good things.

Find out more about Wallace Chan: wallace-chan.com


Jessica Green


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