In 2009, Cindy Chao created the Royal Butterfly to symbolize the metamorphosis she had undergone from a jewelry designer to a jewelry artist. Meticulous to detail, her approach to both design and execution resulted in this object d’art. The intricate design and craftsmanship of the Royal Butterfly can be admired from all possible angles - it is 3-dimensional. It is complexly and sophisticatedly layered and set with nearly 77 carats of gemstones. The 2,318 gems in the butterfly make this brooch rich in color. Among the diamonds are four large rough diamond slices stacked atop a pave layer of faceted diamonds, forming the centerpieces of the wings. These rough diamonds have a faceted top and flat bottom, and before faceting, they had a natural pattern that appeared similar to the microstructure and scale on a butterfly’s wings. Gemstones encrust the back of the butterfly as well. The Royal Butterfly is set with sapphires, fancy-colored sapphires, color-change sapphires, rubies, diamonds, fancy-colored diamonds, and tsavorite garnets.

Gift of Cindy Chao in 2010.This object was designed by Cindy Chao.


  • Title: Royal Butterfly Brooch
  • Creator: Cindy Chao
  • Date Created: 2009
  • Type: Pin
  • Rights: This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws. http://www.si.edu/termsofuse
  • External Link: View this object record in the Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center
  • Weight: 77 carats (total)
  • USNM Catalog Number(s): G10656
  • Photo Credit: Donald E. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Field: Mineral Sciences

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