For a period of time, people knew me as the ‘Butterfly Man’.


From an interview with Forbes

Emerald Swallowtail, Apollo, Sylphina, Forest Giant Owl, Eighty-Eight, Peacock Pansy, Blue Morpho, Ceylon Rose, Ulysses, Monarch. What are they?


A totemic animal in many cultures, butterflies are a metaphor for powerful transformation and rebirth, capable of changing both their state and way of life. They embody the lightness and transcendence of being, symbolic of love and immortality.

In the magnificent Time Travel Brooch by Wallace Chan, the combination of vertical and horizontal lines, alongside colorful gemstone dots, hint at the fragility of existence; wisdom and consciousness; focussing on the goals ahead; the capability to change perspectives and look at the events and challenges of life from different angles.

I think sleeping is a waste of time. But I have to sleep to survive, so that is one thing I have to spend time on. But it won’t affect me so much if I don’t shave and by not shaving, I will have saved at least three years in my life. I did the maths. And that is why I have kept this beard for over 20 years now.


From an interview in Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewellery Art of Wallace Chan

Wallace Chan implements all aspects of the beauty and symbolism of the butterfly in his jewelry masterpieces.

“When I was a young boy, butterflies were flying colors. As I grew older, I found them to be the embodiment of a great philosopher’s great philosophy – life is but a dream, only that we need to decide whether we want it to be the dream of a man, or the dream of a butterfly. I could not decide, so I became The Butterfly Man,” he shared his memories in an interview to Forbes.

Since his earliest explorations into the world of jewelry as a gemstone carver at the age of 16, first creating in malachite and lapis, then moving on to expensive, much more complex rubies, emeralds and diamonds, eventually becoming an internationally-recognized jewelry artist, researcher and innovator, Wallace Chan has invested hundreds of thousands of hours into the exploration and development of new, ground-breaking jewelry-making techniques and materials.

A modern-day alchemist and curious trailblazer in the realm of jewelry, Chan spent eight years researching and experimenting with titanium, its lightness, durability and color potential, which he now uses not only in his jewelry masterpieces but also in large-scale sculptures.

He spent seven years studying the hidden powers of porcelain, which led to the discovery of Wallace Chan Porcelain, a revolutionary, vibrant, smooth and radiant material, with an avant-garde spirit, five times harder than steel.

No wonder he does not have time to shave!

I had to invent my own tools, so I went to a factory to learn for six months as an apprentice, learning about the mechanics. Finally I thought I could transform a dental drill into the carving knife, but the dental drill was spinning 36,000 times per minute so once it touches the stone’s surface the stone cracks. So I had to put the stone beneath water to carve.


From and interview to National Jeweler

Among Wallace Chan’s unique, ground-breaking inventions are the Wallace Cut, inspired by his interest in reflections, a technique based on gem-faceting and 360-degree intaglio, generating a fourfold reflection on transparent gemstones. For that purpose, he even invented his own tools: modified dental drills. As if that was not challenging enough, this painstaking carving had to be performed underwater, so that heat and tension from drilling would not cause the gems to crack.

The other remarkable inventions by Wallace Chan include his revolutionary gemstone setting techniques, with which – unlike traditional jewelry – gems are set without metal claws. In the diamond claw setting method and inner mortise and tenon setting method, the gemstones are masterfully set within each other, preserving their natural allure, translucency, brilliance and color.

Each of my pieces has to be one of a kind but once I have mastered the idea, I want to move on. Seeking new challenge is the challenge. I love challenging myself.


From an interview in Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewellery Art of Wallace Chan

Wallace Chan’s artworks have been exhibited at many museums, galleries and art fairs around the world: the European Fine Art Fair, Biennale des Antiquaires; American Museum of Natural History (New York), Lévy Gorvy (Hong Kong), Naturama Museum (Svendborg), Canary Wharf (London), DIVA Museum (Antwerp), Fondaco Marcello (Venice), Asia House (London), Christie’s Gallery (Hong Kong), the Gemological Institute of America Museum (Carlsbad), the Capital Museum (Beijing), Kaohsiung Museum of History (Taiwan), and Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum (Idar-Oberstein).

They are also part of the permanent collections of the British Museum, the Beijing Capital Museum, and the Ningbo Museum.

But Chan remains a relentless seeker and keeps looking for new inspirations, asking new questions and diving into impressive innovations.

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