By Francesca Fearon in London
Barely known outside of the Chinese community in Asia, Rachel Wen has spent the summer travelling from the haute couture collections in Paris to Monaco and the French Riviera to introduce her captivating Chara Wen artistic jewellery to a new audience.
Launching Chara Wen five years ago in Taipei, Rachel Wen has developed a distinctive way of intensifying the colour and sparkle of her gems by combining them with the smooth sheen of black jade and obsidian and subtle gleam of black diamonds, to dramatic effect. Her timepieces range from explosive firework designs to shapes evocative of the Art Deco style, but her jewellery is sculpted into voluptuous organic shapes.
In her Eastern collection, the carved black obsidian petals of a peony brooch emerge from the diamond scales of a flower bud, balanced on a yellow diamond and green tourmaline stem, while an obsidian flower ring, with its tips dripping with diamond rain, cups a big emerald. The imagery is refined and Asian, but the black stones "pose as powerful anchors to the brilliance of the precious gems," says Rachel.
Working in fashion and interior design in Taiwan before studying jewellery, a love of fashion is apparent in Rachel's designs, while her daughter and business partner Krystal Huang brings her knowledge of art history to the Chara Wen collection.
Rachel likes to pair her stones with not just unconventional black stones "but also rough-cut diamond pieces that preserve their natural marking and colour variations," explains her daughter Krystal. The combination gives texture to her jewellery.
There is also a feeling of movement in in the haute couture-inspired Fashion Muse collection: an invisible breeze seems to waft through the petals of a flower and the ruby and diamond ruffles of an earring while the dancing hems of the yellow and white diamond trumpet flower earrings echo the movements of their owner. "Part of our design philosophy is to create jewellery with a sense of vitality and life," explains Krystal. "Our pieces are dynamic and playful."
The designs are asymmetric and all feature a small ruby, which Chara Wen calls its Gift of Love. The signature is set on the left earring of a pair or is secretly embedded somewhere in a jewel for a customer to discover. That sense of playfulness is rooted in the Chara Wen DNA.