Snob Essentials

Cindy Chao Royal Butterfly Brooch: Smithsonian Spotlight

Cindy Chao Royal Butterfly Brooch

One of my dearest friends, Cindy Chao, has made history by becoming the first Taiwanese artist to enter the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. Pretty impressive considering her company, The Art Jewel, has only been around since 2004! The piece she generously donated to the lauded museum? Her Masterpiece Royal Butterfly brooch, which is valued at a cool $680,000. Originally crafted back in 2009, the Black Label creation was assembled from a whopping 2,328 gemstones. That’s 77 carats worth of diamonds, rubies, tsavorite garnets, and my favorites – the chameleon sapphires (look at how they change colors under ultraviolet light on the Smithsonian’s website). Cindy’s ingenuity and attention to detail are what set her apart. For this particular piece, she placed four large diamond slices above patterns of pave diamonds that recreate the microstructure of an actual butterfly’s wings! To see the wonder in person, visit the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals on the second floor of the museum.




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