Bao Bao Wan
The granddaughter of Mainland China’s former vice-premier, the late Wan Li, Bao Bao Wan grew up in and around the Imperial Palace in Beijing before moving to New York to study at age 16. Strong-minded and independent, she decided to take up photography at the private liberal-arts institution Sarah Lawrence College, known for producing independent thinkers such as Yoko Ono, Barbara Walters and Grace Paley. It was here that Wan studied under famed photographer Joel Sternfeld. Influenced by his use of colour and landscapes, she developed a taste for capturing realistic moments in nature, which can now be seen in her jewellery creations.
Wan’s passion for design was then fuelled by a year in Paris, where she found herself immersed in a highly creative environment, surrounded by artists. Some of her works clearly stem from the city’s romantic vibe, with her fondness for French culture obvious in the names she has chosen for her collections. Her debut line, L’amour Paradoxal (“The Paradox of Love”) tells of the love story between a butterfly and a bamboo stalk. Themes such as La Maison de Mon Enfance (“The House of My Childhood”), which takes the form of pagodas, and Les Feuilles dans le Vent de Pékin (“The Wind in the Leaves of Beijing”) are inspired by her experiences growing up in Beijing.
After receiving her diploma from the Gemological Institute of America in 2006, Wan returned to Mainland China and released her first collection in Hong Kong a year later. In 2009, Wan was the youngest designer to collaborate with diamond brand Forevermark on its Precious Design collection with her work “Bao”—a fantasy cuff featuring 43 carats of diamonds. The following year, Wan designed the Dragon d’eau collection that premiered in Paris at the Shining Moments Jewellery Show. The Bao Bao Wan fine jewellery line, which is sold at Lane Crawford, currently features 10 collections handcrafted in gold, diamonds and coloured gemstones.
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EASTERN PROMISE La Brise de la Danse necklace and earrings in 18K gold with diamonds and coloured gems by Bao Bao Wan