Hong Kong and Taiwan jewellers show their wares in Europe

Hong Kong’s Michelle Ong and Wallace Chan will exhibit at London’s Masterpiece fair and Taiwan’s Cindy Chao is off to the Paris Biennale

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 4:02pm

Three of Asia’s leading jewellers will showcase their work at the biggest art fairs in Europe this summer.

Fresh from The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Hong Kong’s Wallace Chan will be exhibiting his bejewelled sculptures at Masterpiece in London, which opens on Thursday, June 30. Another Hong Kong jeweller, Michelle Ong, returns to Masterpiece with her Carnet collection, exhibiting with Symbolic & Chase for the third time. She previously had been part of two special Vogue exhibitions at the art fair.

In September, Taiwan’s Cindy Chao will take her Black Label Masterpieces to the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires – the first time her sparkling works will have been shown at a public event.

Chan has shown at the Paris Biennale before but this year took 40 pieces, some on loan from collectors and some new pieces, to TEFAF in March. “It was a very positive journey,” says Chan. “People were surprised in a good way and told me what they saw was new and refreshing.”

Many pieces sold, but he has taken a similar sized display for London.

“It is always exciting going to new places and meeting a new audience,” he says. “The purpose of the exhibition is cultural exchange, and I enjoy taking part in different art and cultural events – the vibe is unique every time.”

Masterpiece has been rewarding for Ong. “I love the concept of a presentation that focuses on the best of art and beauty in all forms,” she says, describing Masterpiece as “an exciting showcase for collectors around the world”.

She will again show with Symbolic & Chase, dealers who specialise in historic and contemporary jewellery and objets d’art. Highlights include her Sapphire Swirl bracelet featuring a blue sapphire and swirls of pink and purple sapphires and diamonds, and a pink sapphire and diamond koi.

Nature is a powerful inspiration for all three jewellery artists: fish, butterflies, insects, flora and fauna. Chao is renowned for her annual butterfly brooches and regards them as a symbol of her own metamorphosis into a jewellery artist. She will be the only Asian jeweller showing at the biennale, and describes previous visits to the prestigious fair as a rare chance to experience the highest level of artefacts, artworks and fine jewellery in the same venue, calling it “a sensual feast”.

She will be presenting her signature one-of-a-kind pieces from past years and her new 2016 Black Label Masterpieces.

Normally, Chao would only unveil her intricate jewelled artworks at tailored events in specific regions to collectors who consider privacy their top priority. “They enjoy the relaxed, intimate and private time they have viewing the jewellery pieces, and understand the inspiration and craftsmanship,” she says.

The biennale will be a different experience for her. “It is an appropriate time to broaden our horizon.”

Chan explains that having a geographic target market of connoisseurs isn’t realistic for him because he can only create about 20 pieces a year.

Collectors of Ong’s jewellery span the world and most of Chao’s are Asian-based (35 per cent are from overseas). Her Asian clientele “tend to be more attracted to the investment value of centre gemstones”.

The trio are not the only ethnic Chinese jewellers planning to make a big impact at the European art fairs this summer. Dickson Yewn has just announced his debut at Masterpiece under the umbrella of Asian Art in London and will show his private label Dream and Reality collection of exotic butterfly brooches.