IN­SPIRE: Bao Bao Wan

Bao Bao Wan’s Chi­nese ap­pre­ci­a­tion of beauty laced with a fris­son of dan­ger re­flects a new gen­er­a­tion of con­fi­dently com­plex women, dis­cov­ers Melissa Pearce

Adore Gems & Timepieces - - CONTENTS -

Bao Bao Wan, by turns ethe­real or bold (like her fa­mous fol­low­ers that in­clude ac­tresses Fan Bing­bing and Zhou Xun), leads a charmed life. As grand­daugh­ter of the leg­endary Chi­nese Com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion­ary Wan Li, for­mer chair­man of the stand­ing com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, and daugh­ter of a high­level gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, she has been at ease in grand set­tings since she was a child. Wan mostly had an in­ter­na­tional child­hood that saw her com­plete her stud­ies over­seas. And it was her prom­ise as a pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dent dur­ing her univer­sity days in New York that earned her an ap­pren­tice­ship with Joel Stern­feld, the fine-art pho­tog­ra­pher noted for his large-for­mat doc­u­men­tary pic­tures of the US. But ul­ti­mately, she re­alised pho­tog­ra­phy was not her call­ing and she de­scribes awak­en­ing from her fine art as­pi­ra­tions with a re­al­i­sa­tion of the im­per­a­tive “to com­mer­cialise my senses to be more ac­cepted and vis­i­ble”.

In 2007, she launched into fine jew­ellery­mak­ing, work­ing out of stu­dios in Bei­jing and Hong Kong. Re­cent col­lab­o­ra­tions have in­cluded those with Forever­mark, M.A.C, Yoox and Swarovski’s Gem Vi­sions 2010. The or­nate de­tail in her lux­u­ri­ous works hint at her pho­tog­ra­pher’s eye as she con­tin­ues to freeze beau­ti­ful mo­ments, ex­cept now they take the form of pre­cious jew­els.

COL­LEC­TOR’S IN­SIGHT

“I col­lect jew­ellery made by dif­fer­ent houses at their peak: David Webb, Ma­rina B, Mar­chak and big names such as Bul­gari and Buc­cel­lati; things that won’t be made again by them today. I also ad­mire JAR, Paul Flato and Suzanne Belper­ron. David Webb cre­ations are fa­mous for its an­i­mal mo­tifs but it also has in­cred­i­ble com­bi­na­tions of coloured stones in its de­signs.”

PARA­DOX­I­CALLY IN­CLINED

“The alexan­drite gem­stone is a favourite of mine. It is con­tra­dic­tory and I do en­joy the edge of the op­po­sites. I am [like an] alexan­drite — ruby by day, emerald by night. I was born on the cusp of Li­bra and Scor­pio. I am not that much into astrol­ogy but I do sleep as a Scor­pio and wake into a Li­bra. I am moth­erly, nos­tal­gic, dis­ori­en­tated and very frag­ile, and at the same time, I am de­ci­sive and in­de­pen­dent, with the strong­est of sur­vival skills. And all of this could al­ter­nate within one hour...it is not easy to man­age me and def­i­nitely not easy to be me ei­ther.”

TRAVEL BUG

“I am in­spired by my trav­el­ling, my sen­ti­ments and any colours I see, whether it’s a fad­ing rooftop or a sim­ple colour in the clothes of a passer-by. In my early days, I made a lot of jew­ellery with pic­to­rial inf lu­ences such as bam­boo, but­terf lies and fall­ing leaves. Then I started to en­joy de­sign­ing from scenes or mem­o­ries of weather or na­ture, such as rain, wind, frozen ice or even ex­plo­sions.”

Wan’s int r icate je wel ler y c reat ions (top lef t); a nd her love for Mar­chak ’s

(top r ight) a nd David Webb’s (bot tom) jewel ler y

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