My Luxury Life: Cindy Chao

The Taiwanese jewellery designer is best known for her Black Label Masterpieces, an annual collection of handcrafted jewels, limited to 36 highly coveted statement pieces.

Cindy Chao treats jewellery as wearable art. Courtesy: Cindy Chao

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would you be?

Bora Bora. White-sand beaches contrasting with the emerald water, blue sky and palm trees swaying in the breeze – like an artist’s palette.

Where are your favourite shopping districts?

I love walking through Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and St-Honoré in Paris. There, one can find the finest couture and luxury brands in the world, and each has a unique history.

What is your go-to beauty product?

The instant facial masks that I carry with me throughout all my travelling. They are the best and fastest way to rehydrate after sitting on a flight for 14 hours, and for enduring the constant changes in climate.

What is your favourite city?

I have always loved the culture, history, art and architecture embodied in Rome. It’s one of Europe’s oldest cities, and it is considered one of the birthplaces of western civilisation with 2,500 years of history. The stunning fountains spread around the city centre, the parks and gardens hidden in the villas … to me, Rome is a city of inspiration. I could walk around for hours just admiring the sculptural masterpieces. Every street corner is a history lesson waiting to be discovered.

What does your dream home look like?

Any house designed by Christian Liaigre – his minimalist and elegant style in both furniture and interior design, and use of light and white space, speak to my heart.

What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?

I treasure all the art jewels I create – they are the encapsulation of emotions and moments in my life. If I were to choose just one, it would have to be my latest 2015 Black Label Masterpiece X – a pair of sapphire rose petal earrings. It has 20 gradients of blue sapphire cast onto the petals surrounding the yellow diamonds at the centre. I aimed to create a mood that is harmoniously mysterious – as if the roses are quietly coming to bloom at midnight, and only those lucky enough can get a glimpse of them.

What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?

Definitely shoes. I have a vast collection of heels, mostly by Christian Louboutin. I travel with luggage full of high heels.

Are you a collector?

I have started collecting sculptures in the past few years. My most recent possessions are two bronze sculptures named Danse avec moi, now a part of our new Hong Kong showroom.

What’s your next must-have purchase?

An Hermès Crocodile Kelly bag.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

“Opportunity favours the prepared minds, but whoever preserves to be the last will win the race.” The artistic journey is definitely a solitary one, and managing a brand does not come easy. Whenever I face challenges and adversaries, I think of this advice that gives me so much driving force to stay focused.

What would you be if you weren’t a jewellery designer?

An architect, following in my grandfather’s footsteps. When I was young, he would take me to the temples he was working on, and I would observe as he explained the blueprints and construction plans to the craftsmen. In a way, I believe I am an architect. To me a piece of jewellery is like a miniature piece of architecture. When I create, I focus on the aesthetic, the placement of gemstones, and the harmonious beauty that the structure and lighting will bring together.