What does it take to be the only living artist whose works are featured in the high-profile jewelry auctions at Sotheby’s New York?
Sifen Chang has been since 2000, Sotheby’s has auctioned more than one hundred Sifen jewelry to collectors around the world.
A little background
Sifen Chang was born in Taiwan and immigrated with her family to Brazil when she was 5 years old. Originally she considered the finance area but her interest in mining and gems was influenced by her mother’s business in emerald mining and its jewelry business which led her to studying geology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
She became assistant curator at the Mineral and Gemstone Museum of Amsterdam Sauer, known for its largest and important private collection of gemstones and minerals in the world.
Since she was a child, Sifen had an eye for fashion design and often made small changes here and there to her clothing and jewelry. As a teenager, her passion for fashion continued to grow. What she enjoyed was altering clothing and jewelry to change their original design into something more interesting. Little did she realize how this interest would have an impact on her entrepreneurial spirit in her life later on.
Credentials and next steps
After completing her graduate degree in Gemology and Jewelry Design from the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California, Sifen returned to Taiwan to become a buyer. After four years, inspired by her mother’s friend’s request for advice on what to do with her old jewelry, Sifen left her job and began her own jewelry design company named after her Chinese name Si Fen.
Sifen started her company completely on her own. While she was growing up, her mother always encouraged her to be independent and stressed the importance for women to achieve their own success.
Sifen’s specialty is to assess old jewelry and change it in a way that makes it more comfortable and balanced for the owner. She found that by using concepts from physics like weight, balance and movement, she was able to create unique and thoughtful jewelry.
Eventually, this attracted the attention of Sotheby’s in Taiwan who started auctioning two of her pieces in 1999. The following year Sotheby’s in New York invited Sifen to offer her works at their
auctions as well. Her creations are now featured in auctions in the same category as international houses such as Cartier, Tiffany and Bulgari.
Advice for entrepreneurs and young professionals
Throughout her life and career, Sifen learned valuable lessons that developed her skills and helped her discover her entrepreneurial spirit.
- Be the dreamer — Keep your dream alive as this strength is needed to pursue what you want.
- Be disciplined — Remain focused on what you want to accomplish. Sometimes we get distracted by other opportunities in life but it is important to keep your goals in sight.
Be true to yourself — Remember to listen to your heart and your head. Be passionate but be logical in your decisions and your approach.