Asian high jew­ellery de­signer CINDY CHAO uses or­ganic ar­chi­tec­ture and sculp­tural forms to cre­ate ex­tra­or­di­nary pieces of wear­able art

Prestige (Thailand) - - SELECT -

mo­ti­vated by a de­sire to break bound­aries and re­de­fine high jew­ellery, Asian jew­ellery de­signer Cindy Chao launched her epony­mous brand, CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel. She be­lieves that ev­ery piece of fine jew­ellery should be a minia­ture work of art. Dis­tinctly or­ganic, sculp­tural and ar­chi­tec­tural, the brand’s Black La­bel Mas­ter­pieces and the White La­bel Col­lec­tion are ex­pres­sions of Cindy’s savoir-faire as a sculp­tor and artist. Orig­i­nal, in­no­va­tive and tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing, only a lim­ited num­ber of these one-of-a-kind mas­ter­pieces are cre­ated an­nu­ally, which makes pos­sess­ing one even more ex­tra­or­di­nary.

Over the last 14 years, Cindy Chao’s cre­ations have been highly sought af­ter by in­ter­na­tional art and jew­ellery col­lec­tors, con­nois­seurs and roy­als, and have fre­quently be­come the high­lights of the world’s most pres­ti­gious auc­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions. In 2007, Cindy de­buted her sig­na­ture sculpted Four Sea­sons col­lec­tion at the Christie’s New York Fine Jew­ellery Auc­tion. In 2013, her Burmese Ruby Rib­bon Ring, fea­tured on Sotheby’s Hong Kong cat­a­logue cover page, was sold for US$ 384 mil­lion, set­ting the record for an Asian con­tem­po­rary art jewel.

In 2010, Cindy be­came one of the first con­tem­po­rary jew­ellery artists to re­ceive the hon­our of hav­ing one of her cre­ations, an iconic but­ter­fly

called “Royal But­ter­fly”, in­ducted into the Smith­so­nian Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory. The mu­seum re­marked at the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony, “Dis­play­ing her jewel en­sures that gen­er­a­tions to come may en­joy the colours, gems and crafts­man­ship of this time­less piece.”

In 2016, CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel was in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the 28th Paris Bi­en­nale des An­ti­quaires, where the 2016 Black La­bel Mas­ter­pieces were un­veiled. The highly-re­garded Bi­en­nale sig­ni­fied the brand’s swift rise to global recog­ni­tion.

Ear­lier this year at Mas­ter­piece Lon­don, where Cindy Chao was the only Asian jew­ellery brand, her Pe­ony Brooch – se­lected from nearly 10,000 ex­hibits – was hon­oured with the pres­ti­gious “Out­stand­ing Ob­ject Award” by the art fair’s award com­mit­tee, who de­scribed it as “an ex­am­ple of con­tem­po­rary crafts­man­ship and great de­sign”. The Chair­man of Christie’s Europe and Asia, François Curiel, even re­gards Cindy Chao as one of the top jew­ellery de­sign­ers of the 21st cen­tury.

Grand­daugh­ter of an ar­chi­tect and daugh­ter of a sculp­tor, Cindy had an up­bring­ing that was im­mersed in an ex­tra­or­di­nary and vi­brant cre­ative en­vi­ron­ment. Un­der their guid­ance, Cindy learnt to com­bine her three­d­i­men­sional vi­sion to the world with sculpt­ing tech­niques. This in turn prompted her to shape her own cre­ative de­sire and drive to be bold and brave with her cre­ations.

CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel is one of the very few con­tem­po­rary jew­ellery brands to adopt the 18th cen­tury wax sculpt­ing tech­nique. This his­toric ap­proach makes it pos­si­ble to con­ceive a three-di­men­sional wax model in 1-to-1 scale to the fi­nal art jewel. Gem­stones are then care­fully ar­ranged on the wax model for cal­cu­lat­ing the set­ting po­si­tions, so as to let ev­ery piece of gem­stone to be set and sparkle with the great­est fire on the richly un­du­lated and curved three-di­men­sional struc­ture. This is a process in­stru­men­tal in guar­an­tee­ing that the fi­nal work will be a minia­ture jew­elled sculp­ture. Once com­pleted, the wax sculp­ture is fur­ther pro­cessed to make the mould with which the metal base of the jew­ellery piece will be cast.

Cindy’s savoir-faire is also ex­pressed in the high qual­ity of the pre­cious stones with which the art jewels are set. In ad­di­tion to the cen­ter­piece, all the side stones to the small­est 0.5 mm di­a­monds that are set on a jew­ellery piece must be se­lected metic­u­lously. Three Gia-cer­ti­fied ex­am­in­ers scru­ti­nize each stone. Only di­a­monds of the DEF colour­less grad­ing and VS (Very Slightly In­cluded) clar­ity can be se­lected. The cut, grade and bril­liance are also cri­te­ria that de­ter­mine whether a gem­stone would be used. So strict is the stan­dard that only 10 per­cent of the di­a­monds and 5 per­cent of fancy-coloured di­a­monds will fea­ture in the fin­ished jewel.

Ev­ery piece of Cindy Chao’s art jew­ellery un­der­goes the process of wax sculpt­ing, sketch­ing, colour ar­range­ment, struc­tural en­gi­neer­ing and gem­stone se­lec­tion. All these

“True art can break all eth­nic, lin­guis­tic and cul­tural bound­aries” Cindy Chao

thor­ough and com­pli­cated steps lead to the last, most sig­nif­i­cant and time-con­sum­ing pro­ce­dure – gem-set­ting. Cindy Chao works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a team of Eu­ro­pean master crafts­men, each with over 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in high jew­ellery and ti­ta­nium gem-set­ting, on the cre­ation of the Black la­bel Mas­ter­pieces. They have to work with 25x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion mi­cro­scopes to process the gem­set­ting task.

So pre­cise and de­mand­ing is the work that crafts­men can only spend three hours a day on this

task, while fac­ing only a 20 per­cent suc­cess rate. Thou­sands of hours are de­voted to this es­sen­tial step, as Cindy works closely with her team of Eu­ro­pean master crafts­men, fine-tun­ing the an­gle at which each gem is set, con­sid­er­ing the tex­ture, colours, bril­liance and re­flec­tion so as to en­hance the sil­hou­ette and un­du­lat­ing lay­ers of her art jewels. Each Black La­bel Mas­ter­piece is the fruition of two years or ten thou­sand hours of ded­i­ca­tion, from con­cep­tion to com­ple­tion.

Since the launch, CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel has demon­strated its po­ten­tial by con­stantly trail­blaz­ing in fields of cre­ativ­ity, craft­man­ship and spirit. On this foun­da­tion, it is Cindy’s vi­sion to con­tinue to build the brand based on its Asian her­itage, lead­ing the world’s mod­ern jew­ellery de­sign.

“Cre­ation is a di­a­logue with self that is doomed to be a lonely path­way. How­ever, this is the one and only way to­wards true art”

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