Culture Clash

The first mainland Chinese debutante at the Crillon Ball in Paris, fine jeweler Bao Bao Wan, is the granddaughter of vice premier Wan Li, the former chairman of Communist China’s National Peoples’ Congress. This progeny of such extreme contrasts (her mother spent the Cultural Revolution toiling the muddy fields of China’s impoverished countryside) studied literature in Paris then gemology in America before launching an eponymous line of 18-karat gold, diamond, and semiprecious stone baubles. She personally selects each South Sea pearl and Burmese ruby, so that “every single piece of jewelry comes from my heart.” Imperial Chinese sloping pavilions covered in white diamonds make whimsical earrings, and she fashions a yellow diamond butterfly resting upon gold bamboo into a ring. Bejeweled pistil and petals add shock value to her suggestive La Coquetterie pieces, yet Wan insists nature is a metaphor for the strength of the women who inspire her. Prices start at $6,000, and the collection is available in Hong Kong at Prince Jewellry and Watch. (852.2369.2123, baobaowan.com)

—Cynthia Rosenfeld

More Jewelry