Wallace Chan’s Butterflies Fly High

Now available, the Chinese artist's new book Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewellery Art dedicated to the much-loved world of butterflies

Throughout history (and in jewelry) the butterfly has certainly never been the muse of few, quite the opposite. But not many have succeeded in making it fly as high as Wallace Chan, aka the butterfly man. Now his muse has become the leading character in a new book entitled Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewellery Art of Wallace Chan, published by ACC Art Books, which will see the famous jewelry artist busy on a book tour throughout November and December 2021.

Venues include The New York City Jewelry Week in collaboration with Salon Art + Design (Park Avenue Armory, New York), The British Museum (London), SMK - The National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen) and the DIVA Museum (Antwerp). 

Winged Beauty is an unprecedented study of Wallace Chan's work and love for this particular winged insect, which, in Chinese culture, is recognized as a symbol of love and immortality.

Taking almost two years to compile, the book contains more than 100 photos, including newly commissioned and unpublished works, depicting 50 items of butterfly motif jewelry created by Chan. Brooches, earrings, necklaces and rings, all told through the artist's personal and cultural memories.

The book begins with a beautiful interview conducted by author and journalist, Melanie Grant, in which Chan talks about his philosophy of life and work, while each chapter was written by a different jewelry expert: jewelry historian, Vanessa Cron, journalist and author, Ming Liu, jewelry curator at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Emily Stoehrer, and teacher and author, Juliet Weir-de La Ro-chefoucauld.

Unique pieces of jewelry and engineering with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, topaz, garnets, tsavorites and more, which admirably manage to enhance the works. However, in order for the magic of these pieces of art to shine through, it has taken years for the artist to perfect and develop his techniques.

A career that began at the age of 16 when he opened a gem-carving studio in 1973. In 1987 he generated The Wallace Cut, a special technique for carving realistic designs on the back of stones. Then, in September 2015 he created (after more than 47,000 hours of work) "A Heritage in Bloom", one of the world's most expensive diamond necklaces, on the request of Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook. He also invented a porcelain, The Wallace Chan Porcelain, which is five times stronger than steel and is currently working again on 24K gold so that it has the same hardness as 18K.

Winged Beauty tells the whole story of the Hong Kong-born artist’s life through his priceless and countless butterfly motif works. «What's in a butterfly?» Chan asks himself. «Beauty, love, color, lightness, strength, courage, freedom and transformation. The list could go on, but these are the qualities that attract me the most. The only thing a butterfly doesn't have is time. The average lifespan of a butterfly is only two to four weeks, although some can live up to a year. I once heard of a chestnut tiger butterfly. Scientists discovered that it flew from Japan to Hong Kong in 83 days. I've always wondered what made it decide to spend most of its life travelling into the unknown. Is it just instinct? Yes, butterflies are small. Yes, butterflies look fragile. And no, butterflies don't have much time. But every butterfly reminds us that there can be greatness in every fleeting moment if only we dared to embrace it, if only we cared enough to let our cocoons develop.»

The book will be presented from today, 15th November, according to the following schedule: 

- The New York City Jewelry Week (Virtual Event)
Monday 15th November 2021, 10.30-11.30 a.m.

- The New York City Jewelry Week, in collaboration with Salon Art+Design, New York
Monday 15th November 2021, 1-2 p.m.

- DIVA Museum, Antwerp
Sunday 28th November 2021, 11 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.

- The British Museum, London
Wednesday 24th November 2021, 3-5 p.m.

- SMK, The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen
Sunday 5th December 2021, 3-5 p.m.

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