On display: Cindy Chao at the V&A
London's Victoria & Albert museum adds Cindy Chao jewel to its holdings
It was some time ago that a loyal client tasked Cindy Chao with creating a pair of ruby earrings, re-setting stones from an heirloom necklace. This kickstarted a decade-long journey of creation and, as client became friend, the plans for earrings changed – resulting in a unique brooch. Accented with 105 oval-cut rubies and dusted with a further 2,380 rubies and 668 diamonds, Chao's floral gem – her Black Label Masterpiece XVIII – has since been donated to London's Victoria & Albert museum, where it will go on display this month alongside visitor favourites such as an early 20th-century hair ornament in the shape of a hothouse orchid by Belgian silversmith Philippe Wolfers.
The museum has long been a favourite of the art jeweller. “The last time I visited was in March 2020, just before international travel restrictions came in place,” she says. “It was early morning, before the museum opened to the public. It was surreal walking through the empty galleries, enjoying in total tranquillity, thousands of years of culture and humanity, as well as the conversations amongst all the objects and artefacts.”