Known for his monumental sculptures, one of Tom’s most important commissions was his design at a Palazzo Fondazione Levi art show at the Grand Canal during the Venice Biennale which effectively put him on the map. He was then tapped to design TEFAF Maastricht, which he has continued to do for the past 17 years. His design house, Tom Postma Design, has now collaborated with many esteemed cultural institutions such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Fondazione Prada and the Rijksmuseum.
This January, Chao’s 2008 Black Label Masterpiece “Ruby Butterfly Brooch” became the second piece from the Annual Butterfly Collection to be inducted into a premiere museum, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) in Paris, following the induction of the 2009 Black Label Masterpiece I “Royal Butterfly Brooch” into the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. in 2010. This event reaffirms CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel’s global status as a museum-calibre art jewel brand.
“My Annual Butterflies are a symbol of my artistic metamorphosis, and the advancement of my brand and innovation in craftsmanship” – Cindy Chao has been widely praised for her architectural mindset and sculptor savoir-faire. Chao intended to pay tribute to her family legacy by using her grandfather’s architectural drawings as inspiration behind the 2019 Black Label Masterpiece I “Aurora Butterfly Brooch”.
This concept of “family heritage continuation” is additionally rendered through vein-like motifs that intertwine from the work’s front to its back. Chao also demonstrates her bold use of colour for this butterfly. The piece’s contrasting red and blue colours, comparable to red and blue northern lights which are rarely seen together, yields it name.
The Aurora Butterfly Brooch features four Burmese “pigeon’s blood” rubies totaling to 8.48 carats set on aluminium, a metal even lighter than titanium. It is the very first time Cindy Chao uses this particular metal in its creation, given its ability to show a brighter and more saturated red hue than
titanium’s through anodisation.
The butterfly wings are a constellation comprised of over 3,100 pieces of diamonds and sapphires with seven types of cut, entirely set on titanium. Out of 6,000 diamonds, 172 rose-cut diamonds in 10 different shapes are selected and are set in a seemingly floating fashion to create a shimmering effect between the blue and white colours. On the lower wings, a pair of triangular rose-cut diamonds with a total of 10 carats are placed to accentuate the elegance, transparency and delicacy of the work.
The 2019 Annual Butterfly constitutes an important hallmark of the brand’s curiosity to experiment on new material. It also illustrates Chao’s signature creative philosophy, born with her artistic DNA, that every piece of high jewellery should be a 360-degree miniature sculpture and architecture.