Mastering the art of high jewellery
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Cindy Chao The Art Jewel gallery in Taipei marks a new direction for the artist. Photos: Cindy Chao The Art Jewel

Cindy Chao The Art Jewel opens its first museum gallery in Taipei, housing the artist’s most precious and daring works

  • The groundbreaking mini-museum setting provides the perfect backdrop for the maison’s high jewellery pieces
  • Chao collaborated with architect Tom Postma to create a space that reflects the symmetry of classical design
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Since 2010, Cindy Chao has had her Black Label Masterpieces on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Now the celebrated art jeweller has taken innovation a step further by opening the Cindy Chao The Art Jewel Gallery at the Regent Taipei, widely considered to be one of the finest hotels in the city. The gallery is the first of its kind for the jeweller.

Augmenting its private showrooms and presence at art fairs and auctions, the new gallery in the heart of Taipei brings the maison’s art jewels into the public realm. All jewellery lovers can now visit the intimate and exclusive space to appreciate the stunning miniature works of art coveted by the world’s top collectors.

Artist Cindy Chao at her new gallery in Taipei.

With the elegance of a museum, the gallery is not only a new destination but also a space of surprises and inspiration where visitors can embark on a journey of artistic exploration. The design vision of renowned Dutch architect Tom Postma and the handcrafted bronze walls by French designer Ingrid Donat are underpinned by the imagination of Chao, while the gallery is designed with the symmetrical balance found in classical architecture.

Four specially designed free-standing showcases lining a strong central axis serve as focal points. Designed by a team in Singapore, each picture-frame-style showcase rests on a slender base. Despite weighing nearly 230kg (507 pounds), the balance of each showcase is achieved through a metal frame that acts as a central holder, creating an appearance of weightlessness.

The design and technical ingenuity of these showcases and accompanying display stands reflects the exceptional creativity, innovation, artistry and craftsmanship of the Black Label Masterpieces they house.

The gravity-free showcase at Cindy Chao The Art Jewel Gallery.

Even more theatrical is a large, “gravity-free” showcase embedded in a mirror wall, appearing to float in mid-air. Designed by a team in Belgium, the display enables the art pieces within to move in synchronicity with the lighting. One of these pieces is the maison’s most precious necklace, displayed on an elegant model torso.

Among the items on show at the gallery is the 2022 Black Label Masterpiece VIII Caribbean Summer Brooch, which was originally unveiled during Paris Haute Couture Week in July. Making its Asian debut, this rendition of a musa leaf – abundant in the Caribbean – comes imbued with the energy and enthusiasm of the West Indies. Every minute detail of this leaf, from its veins to its fluttering shape, has been captured with great dexterity and craftsmanship.

The Black Label Masterpiece VIII Caribbean Summer brooch makes its Asian debut at Cindy Chao’s gallery in Taipei.

The complex creation process embodies Chao’s artisanal virtuosity, from lost-wax sculpting to painstakingly forging the undulating titanium leaf into three dimensions, bringing energy and dynamism to the brooch.

A pear-shaped Colombian Muzo green emerald, weighing almost four carats, scintillates on the leaf, which is embellished with more than 2,000 white diamonds, including 375 Asscher-cut stones placed in a channel setting to evoke the parallel veins of the leaf. This setting is being used for the first time in the Masterpiece collection. Another innovation is the cow horn midrib, which has been precisely heated to mimic the rib’s organic curves and polished to a translucent amber shade.

Cindy Chao’s The Art Jewels undergo a complex creative process as the artist draws on her heritage.

Such is the savoir-faire of the maison’s one-of-a-kind art jewels that the French government honoured Chao with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2021. She is the first Asian jewellery artist and founder of a high jewellery maison to receive this recognition.

The opening of the gallery in Taipei represents another milestone in Chao’s career, which began with the launch of her first private showroom in Taipei in 2004. Almost two decades on, she unveils the mystery of her internationally acclaimed masterpieces, the quintessence of her creativity, to the public. She has indeed come full circle.