The story of Wallis Hong, the new name of high jewelery and the surprise of the latest GemGèneve, is a special story. He himself tells the most important stages in his life which has the contours of a fairy tale. Raised in a remote location in China (Wan Song), by an artist mother and a largely absent father, Wallis Hong spent a childhood amidst the beauties and dangers of nature, including reminiscent of close encounters with spiders, snakes and poisonous mushrooms. But also with the fascination for colorful butterflies (this has to do with his current activity), flowers and colorful fish.
Not only. In the heart of Wallis Hong there is also the time spent with his devoted Buddhist grandfather, who built a temple, this time in Cai Shan. Or the time spent with his mother wearing the jewels and clothes she used in his life as a musician and collector. After an experience as assistant director in Beijing, where he aspired to an acting career, the future designer moved to Madrid, Spain, for love and to experience new air. It was 2016 and in the Spanish city Wallis Hong studied sculpture and painting at the Madrid Academy of Art, alternating time with work in the Hermès boutique, where once he also had Queen Letizia Ortiz as a client.
But it was an encounter with René Lalique’s masterpiece, The Lady of the Dragonfly, at the Calouste Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon, that brought out the passion for jewelry. Or, more precisely, for high sculptural and technically avant-garde jewelry, with large volume earrings, but light because they are made of titanium, or a butterfly-shaped brooch which is the most striking piece of his production.
To learn the techniques of jewelry in February 2019 Wallis left his job at Hermès and returned to China. He was lucky: he accidentally met a goldsmith master with 30 years of experience in jewelry making. Or perhaps it would be more precise to define them as sculptures, unique pieces to wear. And which, according to Wallis Hong, are destined to last over time, a century or more, like works of art.