Time made tangible through the artistic, one-of-a-kind creations of Wallace Chan

Innovation is at the heart of Wallace Chan’s jewellery masterpieces. He is the mastermind behind techniques like the Wallace Cut, which is a carving technique that creates an illusion in transparent materials by combining faceting and intaglio into a 3D engraving. There is also his mastery of materials like porcelain and titanium, as well as thinking up brilliant and inventive techniques for materials like jade and even gemstone setting.

This year, Chan delivers his fifth presentation at TEFAF Maastricht (from 7 to 15 March) entitled “The Keeper of Time”, which, as the name suggests, explores the theme of time. Here, the artist will feature 25 handpicked jewellery pieces that convey his feelings and thoughts on the subject.

“Gemstones, the materials at the heart of my creations, eternalise the ephemeral life that all works innately assume. I like to imagine that, when the passage of time turns a new page, and the present has become the past, people – or any other forms of intelligent life – will be able to discover the time I have lived through these immortal creations,” reveals Chan.

Keeper of Time necklace

For the exhibition, the pièce de résistance would be the “Keeper of Time”, a necklace that juxtaposes the recent innovation, the Wallace Chan Porcelain, with vintage carving creations from more than 30 years ago. Here, gemstones and memories from a different time are revisited and given new life, becoming indispensible links in the chain of time that connects both past and present.

Garden of Dreams brooch

Mind Puzzle brooch

Also highlighted in this exhibition are two brooches, “Garden of Dreams” and “Mind Puzzle”, which aim to materialise the abstract forms of dreams, as well as the intricacies of the human mind. For “Garden of Dreams”, Chan likens the development of the human mind to cultivating a flower, with six rubies representing the stamens of a lily. As for “Mind Puzzle”, it illustrates a chaotic yet orderly cluster of creativity, memories, and experiences, accumulated through the stages of Chan’s life.

Windows to the Universe necklace and ring

Then there is “Windows to the Universe”, where pink sapphires and lush green tourmalines are set on a canvas of diamonds, pearls, and white agate, forming an ethereal necklace and ring set. This creation is a fine example of Chan’s unique stone-setting technique, where the gemstones form a ring of windows where the wearer can imagine peering into a hidden universe within.

Cosmic Destiny brooch

Finally, “Cosmic Destiny”, is a brooch that displays motifs of a butterfly, flower, and human figure. You could say that the piece is a tangible form of Chan’s philosophical exploration of the universe; exploring the oneness of being and the ever-changing, all-encompassing qualities of the universe.

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