Contemporary high jewelry artist, Cindy Chao, received one of France’s highest honors for her significant contribution to the arts of the country.
Chao was appointed Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of the Arts and the Letters) during a ceremony held November 17 in Paris attended by several French art dignitaries including François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe and Asia, Karine Lacquemant and Dominique Forest of the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and renowned art collector, Christian Deydier, one of the world’s most respected Chinese art antique dealers.
Chao, who started her business 15 years ago, is the first jeweler to have been awarded this distinction.
The ceremony cultivated with France’s Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, presenting Chao with the “order of merit.”
“Exceptional artist-jeweler you keep pushing the limits of your art,” Bachelot said when presenting the honor. “At the crossroads between goldsmith, sculpture and architecture – for the exceptional quality of your works and for your contribution to the life and transmission of the jewelry savoir faire.”
For Chao’s title of Chevalier (knight), she received a silver medallion on a ribbon that is to be worn on the left breast. It is the first of three tiers of l’Ordre des Art et Lettres honors that are presented by the organization. Upwards of 200 persons per year are recipients of the Chevalier.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an order of France established in 1957 by the Minister of Culture. Its purpose is the recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields. To be considered for the award, French government guidelines stipulate French citizens must be at least 30 years old, respect French civil law, and must have “significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.”
Membership is not, however, limited to French nationals; recipients include numerous foreign luminaries.
Chao, a native of Taiwan, has forged close ties with France, where she now spends a significant amount of her time. She chose to establish the European headquarters of her Maison, CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel, and steers its international development from Paris. She presents her Black Label Masterpieces and White Label collections twice a year in Paris to important European, American and Asian collectors.
In 2020, Chao’s 2008 butterfly brooch, her first, was inducted into the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs. It’s the first 21st Century jewel accepted by the museum and the first from a Taiwanese jeweler. The butterfly has become Chao’s most recognized motif.
Chao took this opportunity to present three of her latest Black Label Masterpieces. Like many of her pieces, these jewels combine traditional Asian and European themes combined with the traditional French craftsmanship that was recognized by the French Ministry of Culture. They are as follows:
The 2021 Black Label Masterpiece XVI Morning Dew Green Vine Earrings
Chao’s latest Four Seasons Collection piece interprets the ethereal beauty of the early morning with winding vines and leaves moistened by crystal clear dewdrops. Colombian emeralds evoke the soft dew that glistens around two 13-carat cushion-shaped diamonds. The titanium structure has been anodized to a brilliant blue-green hue and paved with sapphires, garnets, emeralds and diamonds to add richness and luster that showcases the virtuosity of the craftsmanship.
2021 Black Label Masterpiece X Ribbon Brooch
Inspired by the royal courts of Louis XVI, the hardness of titanium is transferred into soft flowing lines, with drapes and curves that capture the fluidity of silk. The famous Cindy Chao pavé uses more than 2,000 gems (diamonds, yellow diamonds, pink sapphires, and garnets of different shapes, colors and sizes) that are positioned and paved onto the 1mm titanium base. The art of pointillisme pavé, mixing colors, is another Chao trademark. In this piece its hues change from red, through white and yellow, and gradually to pink
2021 Black Label Masterpiece XX Maple Wood Earrings
These earrings mark the first time Chao has created a jewel using maple wood. This creation is inspired by a seed in the form of a block of maple wood which has been sculpted and hollowed out to encapsulate two light brown diamonds of more than 25 carats.