Chinese Luxury Jewelry Designer Wan BaoBao: “No Emotion Is Meaningless” (Interview)

Designer Incorporates Chinese Cultural, Historical Designs Into Jewelry

"La Coquetterie" collection (Courtesy Bao Bao Wan Fine Jewelry)

"La Coquetterie" collection (Courtesy Bao Bao Wan Fine Jewelry)

Although the top Western luxury jewelry brands still dominate in China, we’re starting to see more Chinese companies entering the premium jewelry segment. From the French-Chinese fusion style of Qeelin to more traditional Hong Kong brands like Chow Tai Fook, Chinese luxury jewelry has increasingly developed a distinctive, culture-infused style, and though most of China’s wealthy elite still puts a premium on famous imported brands, Chinese jewelry designers appear to be working overtime to get this lucrative demographic more interested in home-grown design.

Among these Chinese jewelry designers is Wan Baobao (万宝宝), a well-known “red princess” (so called because her grandfather, Wan Li, was a vice premier and later chairman of the National People’s Congress, and her father is also a high level government Minister). Recently, Wan spoke to fashion students at the Tsinghua University Academy of Art in Beijing about the development of China’s premium jewelry market, and the design cues she tries to adapt from Chinese culture and history in her company’s products. From Hexun (translation by Jing Daily team):

Moderator: Why did you choose to become a jewelry designer?

Wan: Jewelry design is a really great profession, every piece of jewelry makes people feel a sense of beauty and happiness, and in my products in particular I try to incorporate some of my memories and experiences. To me, emotionless design is meaningless. A piece of jewelry shouldn’t just be beautiful and please people aesthetically, it also needs to be able to have some kind of effect on them. To me, trying to do this is a really enjoyable process.

Moderator: Which of your pieces would you say does the best job of representing this type of emotion?

Wan: I’d have to say it’s a piece I designed called the “Treasure” bracelet. It incorporates elements of Buddhist teachings like the “Lucky Eight Treasures,” lotus seats and other aspects that are meant to give people a sense of serenity and calmness.

Moderator: You got a really great reception by these students, were you surprised about that?

Wang: Yeah, it was really unexpected, this is the first time I’ve ever stood behind a podium like this, and this is such a great institution. I’m still a bit nervous. It reminds me of what my parents used to say, at school I used to be “happy with mediocrity,” or at least I was never a very good student. But apparently I was lucky enough in my professional endavaors to be given the opportunity to lecture to Tsinghua students, so based on my parents’ standards I’ve done pretty well. I just hope I can do something worthwhile that’ll make them happy and stick with it.


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