20 Jul 2019
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The World of Wendy Yue
Wendy Yue
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 20 2018 4:45PM
Reference: 16593  

Her jewellery is nothing like her demure self. They are bold, full of character and colour, and free-spirited. Hong Kong based prodigious jewellery designer Wendy Yue, talks about her stint with Europe, her love for drawing and exceptional gemstones, her latest collection and more with Vijetha Rangabashyam.

When you are in Wendy Yue’s world, it feels a lot like you are in a dream sequence. Waves from a bright gleaming ocean lash at you in the form of an iridescent opal, and suddenly a shiny insect crawls out of nowhere, carrying the weight of a gorgeous blue sapphire. In another parallel world perhaps, a black onyx monkey says hello to you, while waving its ornate, champagne-diamond studded fingers. The blushing corals in her jewellery are exceptional, but she doesn’t use them to depict a flower, she uses a green carved turquoise instead, to portray the crevices of a rose. Turquoise, a rather unconventional choice for a rose, but it is this unconventionality that makes Wendy’s jewellery extraordinary. ‘I have always been fascinated with jewellery – how rough stones and gold can be created into something so intricate and delicate never ceases to amaze me,’ she says.

To call her jewellery creative or different don’t do justice as they are mere adjectives. Wendy’s jewellery makes you believe in the unbelievable, every flower boggles your mind, every leaf makes you lose yourself in its details and every Buddha instills a sense of serenity within you. She left Hong Kong to do a bit of soul searching in Vienna where she studied language and culture. “I left home at a young age to explore the culture and language of Vienna, and eventually travelled throughout Europe. It was there where I started drawing, and visually documenting the elements of nature that inspire my designs,” she says.

Wendy is neither a gemologist nor a formally trained jewellery designer. Her skill comes from years of observing the objects of nature and culture and drawing them. “Drawing for me was a way to keep a record of the beauty I’d seen, and through the art of jewellerymaking I’m able to recreate those images in the most vivid gemstones and spectrum of colours.” Perhaps the fact that she has no training is what makes her jewellery wild and flamboyant, she has no preconceived notions about design, her imagination is not incarcerated by a rulebook and she makes her own rules anyway! After working with several designers for 25 years, ghost designing for them and manufacturing for other designers, she decided to take the plunge and start her eponymous label.

There are butterflies, sea dragons, dragon flies, spiders, frogs, snakes and more in all of her collections but she seems to have a penchant for monkeys. ‘I love all the pieces I create, but my favourite is my “Over the Rainbow” Collection, which features a monkey set on top of a carved rose coral and surrounded by an array of coloured sapphires – it’s my absolute favourite! I have other variation with panthers and turquoise, but monkey is an animal close to my heart.’ Maybe it has to do with the fact that she was born in the Year of the Monkey.

Flowers and animals are a staple throughout her collection. ‘The Song of the Atlantis’ collection for instance explores the ocean, with a clownfish cocktail ring with bright blue sapphire eyes; giant pink crab earrings with tiny sapphire and tsavorite studded star fish and a pair of beautiful coloured sapphire and diamond studded flatfish earrings that are hooked to large, bright blue opals. Her attention to detail is surreal; even a marine biologist wouldn’t have observed the anatomy of aquatic life quite so much. It is also impossible to associate Wendy with a particular gemstone – her Chinese heritage shines through in many of her pieces because of the liberal use of jade but by the same token she also expresses her love for colours with the use of coloured sapphires, corals, blue opals, milky white agates turquoise in fluorescent hues, rubelites and more. ‘18K gold is my favorite metal– there is so much you can do with it. It’s hard to pick a favorite stone– I love all of them– but I’m always drawn to rubellite and black opals,’ she says. In her latest collection however, she has experimented with Birch wood, a thing no designer has done before (of course!). “The wood is recycled – which is good for the environment and the colour is specially injected into it, so when you cut a slice right down the middle it would be the same colour throughout,” she adds.

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