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High jewellery masterpieces

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CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel

CINDY CHAO's Peony Brooch hailed at Masterpiece London

So hailed Masterpiece London 2018 when the world’s leading crosscollecting art fair bestowed CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel with an “Outstanding Object Award” for her show-stopping Peony Brooch.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 10:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 10:46am

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A fantasy world

Collectors of high jewellery in Hong Kong had the opportunity to marvel at this magnificent brooch, and other works of art at the first stop of the Asian Tour held recently in the jeweller’s showroom in Central. The showroom recreated the fantasy atmosphere of Nootka Island in British Columbia, Canada which served as the inspiration for Chao’s 2018 Black Label Masterpieces, her most prestigious and exclusive creations that are the ultimate expressions of her savoir-faire as a sculptor and artist.

A decade of ingenuity and mastery

Commissioned by a private collector, the Peony Brooch took ten years to complete. Entrusted with a heirloom ruby necklace by the collector a decade ago, Chao set about envisioning a design that would test the boundaries of creativity. After coming up with no less than 20 concepts, she settled on a peony design that would breathe new life to the rubies.

Set ingeniously on purple-coloured titanium to complement the brilliance of the rubies, with the delicate pistils crafted in 18k gold coated with exquisite French lacquer for extra dynamism and vitality, the brooch is a stunning masterpiece.

Featuring 2,485 rubies totalling 228.62 carats and 668 white diamonds weighing 5.98 carats, the brooch was selected by the Masterpiece Award Committee comprising 150 experts to receive the “Outstanding Object Award”. It was highly praised as “an outstanding example of contemporary craftsmanship and great design”.

Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Chairman of the Masterpiece London 2018, lauded the designer for her exceptional achievement. “I'm particularly pleased that CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel is with us this year because in a way it epitomizes the ethos and the DNA of the Fair. Here we have traditional materials backed up by intellectual integrity and imaginative exciting design which unify in a way that makes these pieces of jewellery transcend their function. They are great, beautiful works of art.”

An ode to autumn

Chao pays tribute to autumn for the first time in her latest Four Seasons collection. Inspired by her visit to Nootka Island, the new 2018 Black Label Masterpiece XI “Autumn Leaves Brooches” feature her signature leaf motif in a new rendition. Another example of Chao’s mastery in the use of titanium, this pair of exquisite brooches is intricately set with yellow diamonds to exude an autumn romanticism. A lustrous 6.28-carat conch pearl adds a warmer, more feminine touch to the sinuous, lifelike leaf.

Artisanal craftsmanship

The Autumn Leaves Brooches exemplify Chao’s signature craftsmanship of using artisan wax sculpting as a base to conceive and craft each piece of jewellery in detail from every angle. Chao’s exacting technique calls for the finesse of each wax moulding to resemble at least 80 per cent of the finished jewellery; hence requiring the inserts and claws of the main gemstones to be precisely sculpted into the moulding.

After the casting is done, the leaves are forged in titanium and set with 2,113 oval and round white diamonds totalling 96.76 carats. The stems are crafted from French silver and set with 810 yellow and brown diamonds weighing 8.59 carats.

The back of the leaves features an intricate “honeycomb structure”. This process is instrumental in removing excessive metal as a way to make the Art Jewels as light as possible and to allow more light to reflect through the gemstones. The final metal base of the brooches is as thin as 0.7 to 1mm.