Gift to the Smithsonian Gem Hall

Posted on 19 November 2015



Cindy Chao Royal Butterfly Brooch Adds New Sparkle to Smithsonian Gem Hall

The National Museum of Natural History’s famous gem collection has a new addition: the Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch.

Created by Chao in 2009, the brooch is the first Taiwanese-designed jewel in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s collection. Donated by the artist, it has been on display to the public since March, 2013 in the museum’s Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals in Washington, D.C.
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Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch Press EventThe Royal Butterfly is composed of 2,328 gems, totaling 77 carats. The gems include fancy-color and color-change sapphires and diamonds, rubies and tsavorite garnets. The centerpieces of the butterfly’s wings are four large-faceted diamond slices stacked atop a pave layer of faceted diamonds, creating a pattern resembling the microstructure and scale of a living butterfly’s wings.

Chao is a renowned contemporary jewelry artisan, known for her ability to create wearable works of art that are coveted across the globe. Her ancestral heritage has been influential in her work, as has her father, a noted Taiwanese architect and sculptor who instilled in her a relentless attention to detail and form.

She founded her company, CINDY CHANHB13-00292 copyO The Art Jewel, in 2004. In 2007 she became the first Taiwanese jewelry artist to take part in the Christie’s New York fine jewelry auction.
“I believe that a piece of jewelry can reflect the history of an era, and being included in a leading institution like the Smithsonian is a dream for any artist,” said Chao. “It is humbling to know that millions of visitors will be able to see the Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch and be exposed to my jewelry craftsmanship.”

“The awe-inspiring array of colorful and glistening gems and Cindy Chao’s masterful design combine to create a whimsically beautiful jeweled butterfly that we are delighted has fluttered from Taiwan into our National Gem Collection,” said Jeff Post, curator of the museum’s Gems and Minerals collection. “It is a wonderful gift that I am sure will be immensely popular with our visitors.”



Royal Butterfly (back View)

The celebrated brooch joins the Smithsonian’s gem and mineral collection, one of the largest of its kind. The collection supports museum exhibitions and behind-the-scenes geologic research. The Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals is located on the second floor of the museum and remains one of the museum’s most popular exhibition halls.



Cindy Chao Butterfly Brooch
Many of the gem stones Chao used fluoresce when viewed under ultraviolet light.
The Royal Butterfly comes to life with neon colors.

Posted from:  2015

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