Fine-Jewelry Designer Ming Yu Wang: The Story Behind Her ‘Wearable-Art’ Brand & Jewelry Favorites
Ming Yu Wang is a New York-based Taiwanese American designer that curates personal moments with you in mind, creating wearable art through the commitment to ethical and responsible production.
After graduating from FIT, Ming Yu worked in apparel before transitioning her ideas of form and structure into gender-neutral designs.
Launching her namesake line in 2013, she started her first collection using recycled sterling silver and found inspiration during her pregnancy to also include recycled brass. This vision gave her conversational pieces new meaning, effortlessly combining design with longevity and the environment at heart.
Her eponymous brand supports her BIPOC communities with love and creativity through artist collaborations and local events.
Influenced by contemporary architecture and the pioneers of minimalism, MING YU WANG focuses on the connection between wearable art and the human form.
Launched in 2013, this eponymous label’s minimalist designs are ethically sourced and responsible. Using recycled 925 sterling silver and recycled brass as base metals, MING YU WANG’s conversational pieces combine both longevity and the environment.
With prices ranging from $90.00-$2,900 USD, 10% of all online sales are donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Read more about what inspired her jewelry brand and her best style-piece tips.
Tell us a little bit about you. Where is home?
Brooklyn, New York. I can’t say how much I love this city. I tried to leave once but the pandemic made me miss New York even more. Being back home for the second time says it all.
Share more about the Taiwanese cultural game Mahjong that inspired the creation of Ming Yu Wang jewelry.
Mahjong sparks so many childhood memories and iconic scenes in films for me. It’s a game that brings out such stylish character in how you play and which hands you show. I always connected those times watching my mom and aunties play to the glamorous actors I saw on TV. Standing by mom’s side everyone looked stunning in their outfits and wore their best jewelry for the game.
What is it about jewelry making that ignited your pivot from your initial career in apparel?
When I worked in apparel, I remember how fast fashion was affecting the industry and changing how people were buying. It was a turn-off for me knowing that what I was working on had to be watered down and ultimately discarded sooner than a typical clothing item. I wanted the opposite to make something with longevity and dreamed about how certain things used to be kept and handed down.
Why the brand name ‘MING YU WANG’? What makes MING YU WANG unique from other jewelry brands?
I feel that starting a small brand was my way of having a voice in the industry. It was a way for me to define my work life in New York where everyone knew me as Jennifer my Americanized name and to give a new identity to the characters that my grandparents chose for me when I was born. Incidentally, MING YU WANG means King of Jade so maybe my path to making jewelry was already laid out.
What’s a typical day like for you as a designer at MING YU WANG?
It’s a balance of riding the subway to diamond district and fulfilling the business side of the brand while carving out a few precious hours of bench time at my Brooklyn home studio and figuring out how to make new designs work all before I pick up my son from school!
Which jewelry pieces from your latest limited-edition capsule are a style must-have? Share your faves.
I love the Yu Jade Bangles it was something that was always on my mind. During a recent trip to Taipei, I felt reinspired by its beauty and wanted to share its meaning. They are all unique in color and pattern bolstering tremendous luster and shine. Jade was used exclusively by royalty and nobility during the early Chinese dynasties and jade is still highly valued in many Asian cultures today.
Poetically, the Chinese character Yu which designates jade – and more generally beauty and preciousness – is very similar to the character Wang which refers to the king. Ritual objects in jade were commonly used by Chinese emperors. On a personal note, the name I was given by my grandparents includes both the character Jade (Yu / 玉) and King (Wang / 王).
According to crystal therapy, jade has calming and soothing properties. It helps the heart find compassion in making the right decisions balances emotions and gives modest and clear ideas. Ultimately, its power can be used to open your mind and persuade you towards renewal. Jade is also known as the “Gem Supreme” and the “Jewel of Heaven” stone of the heart. It symbolizes gentleness, serenity, harmony, and balance in Feng Shui.
Do you have any fundamental tips for young professionals looking to step foot into this industry?
This is difficult because I’m still trying to figure it out, just like all of us, but one of the things I try to maintain is to trust myself and make things that I love. It’s hard to not react to trends and understanding our climate is definitely important, but in the end, you’re making something that reflects you.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?
Being a mother and watching other females shine who can balance parent life has all of my respect in the world. I see my mom in a different way after having my son; she’s beautiful, confident, and strong in so many ways that it makes me see the beauty in things that I didn’t see before.
How do you translate jewelry or style trends to your audience?
My focus as a small designer is to stay original and unique. I think my customers shop for my collection because it’s special and different from the mass market. I’m actually working on a one-of-a-kind capsule that’s launching this Holiday and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Well, I started skateboarding because my son just started picking it up and I thought why not? I love that we’re a skate family. It’s so cute!
What is your favorite fashion-related motto, quote, or words to live by?
“Life is made up of a few moments all strung together like pearls. Each moment is a pearl and it is up to us to pick the ones with the highest luster.
If we do not have time to do great things take a few gentle moments and do small things in a great way.” by Joyce Hilfer.