Wendy Yue: On the Rocks

Wendy Yue’s intrigue of nature, travel, and wildlife manifests beautifully in her one-of-a-kind fine jewelry. When we first saw the designer’s collection in person, we were immediately awe-struck by how each piece is an objet d’art. It is a talisman, an icon, and significant with meaning and statement. Most impressively, Without formal training, Wendy has created a visually stunning line celebrated for its intricacy and enchanting motifs.

We couldn’t imagine a more fitting occasion to toast Wendy’s sculptural, often animal-themed creations than Lunar New Year. Ahead of the holiday, we enjoyed martinis at iconic Chinese restaurant Shun Lee West. The gilded monkey decor provided the perfect backdrop to learn about Wendy’s personal history as a fine jewelry artist and love of nature and architecture in her designs. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set

The Look
I am wearing a black blouse with a lace collar and my favorite Chanel lipstick. I keep one in every bag that I own. I am constantly traveling and on the go, and can’t risk being without my lipstick. It’s the one thing that makes me feel fresh and alive. I always wear “simpler” clothes and a neutral color palette, as I feel it lets my jewelry do the talking and tell a story. A woman should always wear two things: her jewelry and her lipstick.

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The Drink
It was love at first sight at Shun Lee with the monkeys dancing along both sides of the main entrance. I am born in the Year of the Monkey – so it is somewhat like fate and comforting to be here. Monkeys, as I am sure you have seen, make repeat appearances in pieces throughout my collection. They always tell a story and are of such significance to me. And it goes without saying that they are super cute and always start a conversation. That’s what my jewelry is all about: conversation.

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I am drinking Chinese black tea. It soothes your senses and stress after a long day, and is a traditional drink in my culture. I am also having a cucumber sake martini because… well… that takes the edge off, too!

The Jewelry
Jewelry to me is a representation on your personality. Be bold and let your jewelry speak for you. My jewelry is all about telling a story – sometimes it might be sentimental, other times it could be humorous or romantic. Perhaps you wear snake pieces because you were born in the year of the snake, or maybe just because you find them sexy and mysterious.

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I stumbled into this business through a family friend who introduced me to a big jewelry firm in Hong Kong. After working for them for a few years, I quickly knew that this was the business I wanted to be in and started my own company and atelier. I have been in the jewelry business for almost two decades now, first starting as a ghost designer for many years. In terms of inspiration, I left my hometown at a young age and gathered many sketches from traveling across Europe. I was exposed to nature and architecture that heavily influenced my designs later on. I was never formally trained, but I have always had a focused and strong vision. I think that is very important as a designer.

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I am wearing and highlighting pieces from a brand new collection that is highly influenced by my Chinese heritage. The collection is so new, and incomplete, that I haven’t even come up with it’s name yet – so please forgive me. I am wearing my black jade and coral “pagoda” earrings (from the new collection that I’m referencing) as well as a carved coral ring with multi colored sapphires. This piece is not brand new but more of a signature piece for me. I am always designing floral and fauna, and using bold color.

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There is a ring in this new group that I am so in love with and the story behind it is a great conversation starter. It’s a carved pink coral lantern with a tassel. In the old days in China, wealthy men would often have multiple wives. Each wife would have a lantern outside of their bedroom, and if theirs was lit, it meant it was “their turn” to be with the man. A form of “summoning,” I guess…

Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set

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