Rear view of the Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch. Created by Chao in 2009, the brooch will be the first Taiwanese-designed piece in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's collection. Donated by the artist, it will be on display to the public for the first time March 6, 2013 in the museum's Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals in Washington, D.C.
The Royal Butterfly, composed of 2,328 gems, totals 77 carats. The brooch is set with fancy-colored and color-changing sapphires and diamonds, rubies and tsavorite garnets. The centerpieces of the butterfly’s wings are four large-faceted diamond slices stacked atop a pave layer of faceted diamonds, creating a pattern resembling the microstructure and scale of a living butterfly’s wings.