Monday 01 February 2016

The Jeweler Wallace Chan: ‘The Stone Is Me’

The Jeweler Wallace Chan: ‘The Stone Is Me’

[Jonah M. KEssel]

Although Wallace Chan grew up in extreme poverty, he designs some of the most expensive jewelry in the world. Mr. Chan experiments with technology to make unique pieces at his workshop in Hong Kong.

Wallace Chan, the Hong Kong jeweler behind the creation of what has been called the world’s most expensive diamond necklace, began working with his hands when he was 8 years old.

In the 1960s his family migrated from the impoverished Fujian Province to Hong Kong, where they made money from odd jobs. The boy was put to work on repetitive tasks best done by small hands, like spooling yarn or assembling cheap decorative goods.

“We made plastic flowers until our fingers bled,” he said, speaking in Cantonese during an interview at his studio. “We got 10 cents for every bag of plastic flowers. I still remember — and for 15 cents we could get two pineapple buns.”

Read the entire extraordinary story of Wallace Chan here.