Pink isn’t a color most people associate with leaves. But Cindy Chao’s Pink Sapphire Foliage earrings feel wholly organic, rosy patina and all. The design’s naturalism was largely achieved through artistic stone-setting—the gems were “arranged in a way for their color combination to further highlight the texture of the leaves,” explains the Hong Kong–based Taiwanese designer. Conjuring exquisite detail is all in a day’s work for Chao. “My creative philosophy is that every piece of fine jewelry should be a miniature work of art.”
The earrings boast 6.8 cts. t.w. colorless diamonds, 1.45 cts. t.w. fancy colored diamonds, 10.46 cts. t.w. pink sapphires, 0.44 ct. t.w. rubies, and 1.68 cts. t.w. rhodolites set in 18k yellow gold.
The designer was keenly aware of how the geometry of each element influenced the overall design of the earrings. “The angle at which we set each gem was carefully calculated to maximize its brilliance,” she notes, “but also to accentuate the three-dimensional, undulating nature of the pieces.”
Chao personally hand-carved and sculpted the wax models for the earrings, a process she considers integral to her work. “I’m able to structure the piece in detail from every angle using wax, giving it a rich depth that a sketch could never achieve,” she says. “My design process is laborious, yet extremely rewarding.”