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The capital glitters

By Carolynne Wheeler | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-06 13:19

The capital glitters

Jewelries on display at Cindy Chao's Beijing store. Photos provided to China Daily

Cindy Chao has opened her first stand-alone jewelry gallery and boutique in an exclusive address in Beijing. Carolynne Wheeler checks it out.

Jewel artisan Cindy Chao has marked a major milestone for her brand by opening her first stand-alone gallery and boutique in an exclusive shopping arcade in Beijing. The moment caps off an exciting month for the young Taiwan designer, coming within weeks of her 2009 Royal Butterfly - a 2,328-gem creation featuring sapphires, rubies and diamonds weighing 77 carats - being inducted into the Smithsonian's Hall of Gems.

Four more of her butterflies, which she has released annually since establishing Cindy Chao The Art Jewel in 2004, were on display at a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Park Hyatt Beijing, featuring American actress, model and singer Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as Chinese movie stars Hsu Chi and Huang Xiaoming.

"The collectors here really appreciate my work. I never thought about opening a retail, public boutique such as this store anywhere. But they really impressed me, and they really encouraged me," Chao says.

"To me, each of these pieces is like a miniature art piece, a sculpture. So if I can make my store into an art gallery instead of just a fine jewelry store, I think it will be very meaningful, and we will be able to educate the buyers and collectors in China that jewelry can be viewed in this different way."

The shop is an intimate, 80-square-meter gallery reminiscent of her black-lacquered jewelry boxes, which took 16 months to construct and more than two years of preparations and delays.

The boutique will feature Chao's White Label collection, her entry-level line found at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

The most valuable piece is the Amazona Columbia diamond and emerald necklace in 18-karat gold, which took four and a half years to create and has never before been shown in an exhibition. It contains nearly 100 carats of emeralds and 120 carats of diamonds, and is worth $10 million.

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