One of my favorite jewelry related books is Carol Woolton’s “Drawing Jewels for Fashion”, as I have mentioned in the past. Besides its inspiring qualities, along with a bit of innocent creative voyeurism, it has introduced me to a few (very interesting) new designers.
Such is the case of Cindy Chao. Part of the Natural World chapter, the four pages dedicated to her work show you a few of Cindy’s most iconic creations, drawing side by side with the photo of the finished piece and basically get you crying for more. As you already guessed, the inspiration is indeed Nature and there are recurring themes like butterflies, flowers and hearts that are hooks to my hopelessly romantic side.
At this point, you’re thinking “Yeah, we have seen butterflies in jewelry, haven’t we?”
Well… yes and no. Not like these ones.
The work that goes into these jewels incorporates so much more than just good design, it is even difficult to describe.
It is sculpture – Each design is sculpted in wax, every surface and side worked with excruciating detail. The ending curves could not be more natural.
It is painting – Assembled over months if not years, the colors are used to create shape and contour with the same fine detail of ancient Chinese painting.
It is mosaic – The irregular size of the stones, either diamonds or colored stones, add to this symphony of movement, resulting in a unique representation of reality that is three-dimensional, grand but also ethereal.
It reminds me of Gaudi, the Catalan architect who marked Barcelona with his own unique reading of gothic meets modernist forms, along with a bit of nature.
Also from Taiwan – remember my previous post? – Cindy Chao grew up surrounded by artists: her grandfather is an architect and her father a sculptor and both of them had influence in the way Cindy translates her feelings into forms and colors. Initially set to follow a career as an interior designer, Chao fell in love with jewelry after studying gemology in the US.
Most of Cindy Chao’s creations are one-of-a-kind pieces, only available for viewing and purchase to a few lucky ones – the Black Label. However, now there is a White Label, made of wearable jewels that are available at very selective – but still existing – points of sale.
Yes, ok, but what about the life risking?
A-ha! I found out that the first ever “Art Jewel Gallery” had just opened at the Park Life shopping mall in Beijing, and that a mere mortal like myself could go and see Cindy Chao’s work, the White and the Black Label, live.
And more, my own hotel was just across the street from the mentioned Park Life. So there I went.
Now, have you ever crossed a street in Beijing? There you have it! I won’t say more.
PS1 – It was worth it.