Taiwanese jeweler Cindy Chao is famous for her extravagant, avant-garde pieces. In a continuation of her Four Seasons collection, Chao has brought to life two brooches in the shape of freshly sprouted cardamom pods, symbolizing hope for a new spring. The 2022 Black Label Masterpiece Spring Cardamom brooches took over two years to create and passed through the talented hands of several European craftsmen.
Drawing on her fascination with the natural world, Chao designed the pieces with nature’s asymmetry in mind. No two cardamom pods are the same, and although the brooches seem identical at first glance, they have subtle differences. One cabochon Colombian emerald is slightly larger than the other (80.79 carats versus 81.11 carats), and the colors of the pieces vary. Each pod uses 28 different shades of green gemstones to emulate the natural color gradation of organic vegetation. Thin and rose-cut diamonds allow light to penetrate.
Patience is key when creating a piece of this caliber, so to ensure as true a rendering as possible, Chao chose to hand-carve the wax models. “The wax carving technique is the only approach that guarantees perfection, as I can feel it in my hands and examine it from all angles,” she says. “This gives my work an impactful architectural and sculptural character that would not be achieved through two-dimensional sketches alone.”
Indeed, the brooches are equal parts architecture and design; there is a hidden tenon structure that holds the two plump spheres of each brooch together.
What fate awaits these wearable objets d’art? One has already sold to a collector. As for what’s next, Chao says she “will continue to draw inspiration from nature. My best creation is always the next piece, so that’s something to look forward to.”
Image: Making of the 2022 Black Label Masterpiece Spring Cardamom brooches. (Cindy Chao The Art Jewel)