It was the international jewelry fair that squeezed in its display of incredible jewels just before the pandemic health crisis shut it down early: TEFAF Maastricht 2020, where the award-winning Hong Kong– and Taipei, Taiwan–based high jewelry designer Cindy Chao the Art Jewel was among the most celebrated exhibitors.
Chao made her first appearance at TEFAF Maastricht in 2019 and this year worked with world-renowned Dutch architect Tom Postma on the design of her booth to present her annual Black Label Masterpieces in the most thoughtful and compelling light.
“We wanted to create beautiful, artistic displays that floated, so to speak,” said Postma, who sought to bring forth the experience of “viewing beautiful art jewels while walking through a misty, wooded area as the sun is slowly coming up.”
While you may have had to be there in person to feel Chao’s 2020 Black Label Masterpieces precisely to this effect, we’ve put together a virtual tour of the (completely gorgeous) highlights, starting with the astonishing emerald brooch below.
The brooch’s companion earrings (pictured at top) feature a pair of pear-shape vivid green Colombian emeralds totaling 90 carats, rarely seen treasures Chao collected a decade ago. The earrings also feature two custom-cut brown diamonds.
2020 Black Label Masterpiece Cameron Falls earrings (below) draw inspiration from the Cameron Falls in the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. The region is known for its pink sedimentary rocks, and the cascade’s rushing waters pour out shades of cotton-candy pink during the rainy spring/summer season.
Chao sought to replicate this magical display with a water-themed, sculptural creation set with natural conch pearls and lavish streams of pink sapphires, purple garnets, and rose-cut diamonds to evoke the movement of water.
The Reflection bangle (below) has dual meaning for the designer: Chao’s reflection on her family heritage at the brand’s 15th anniversary and the reflection of a natural landscape as it might appear in water. The two senses are united through a jeweled drawing, this time in an impressionistic style. Seven no-heat Ceylon sapphires, each ranging from 8 to 18 carats, have been collected by Chao and her team over the past decade to give this “jeweled painting” an extra-enticing quality for collectors seeking the rarest and most unusual examples of jewelry artistry. Containing six flexible articulations, the entire bangle consists of more than 30 components.
Finally, the Castle collection earrings (below), with their mismatched rectangular cushion-cut diamonds, are marked by Chao’s first-time use of polished ebony, famous for its delicate yet resistant texture.
Top: At TEFAF Maastricht 2020, which wrapped on Wednesday, Cindy Chao the Art Jewel unveiled her latest Black Masterpieces. The featured jewels included these Feather collection Plumule earrings with emeralds, brown diamonds, tsavorite, color-change garnets, alexandrite, and yellow diamonds in titanium; price on request.
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