Simply Abu Dhabi XX

1 2 2 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I I n a little over a decade Cindy Chao has risen to great heights in the lofty world of high-end jewellery. Born in Taiwan with an artistic streak inherited from her sculptor father and a head for business coming from her businesswoman mother, Chao is already widely respected for her extraordinary artisanal talents. A graduate of the Gemological Institute of America in New York, Chao founded her company – Cindy Chao The Art Jewel – back home in Taiwan in 2004. In a little over a decade she has amassed a worldwide audience of collectors and admirers and made the news as the first Asian jeweller to have one of her pieces – the Royal Butterfly – inducted at the US National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in 2010. Chao is famous for her signature sculptural, three-dimensional creations using the highest-grade precious gems. She only makes 36 unique pieces annually, so there are not enough to go around, and in an ideal supply and demand situation, people are willing to spend big time dollars on acquiring her pieces. Last year a Burmese ruby ring she designed for Sotheby’s Asia 40th anniversary sold for a staggering US$3.84 million – a world record for an Asian contemporary art jeweller. When she was growing up Chao thought she wanted to be an architect, but she gravitated towards being a sculptor of fine jewels after a suggestion from her mother. Chao knew she was born to create one way or another, and she says, “I always knew I would work in the creative field. I had wanted to become an architect because my grandfather (Xie Zinan, known for designing temples in Taiwan) was one of the most important people in my childhood, but everyone preferred not to have another architect in the family! My father was a sculptor. I was influenced by my family heritage, so even though I didn’t get the chance to be an architect I decided CindyChao