Thursday, September 2, 2010


Squarely positioned on a rock in Osaka, Japan is the 16th century fortress Osaka Castle; a famous attraction for many tourists.

The structure is well known for its unique configuration characterized by an interior eight-story floor plan with only five stories visible from the exterior. Japan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Koji Miyazaki.

In my opinion, not all minimalist style jewelry is buoyant.

The central elements of this aesthetic seem to lie in pure, basic form and though many Japanese jewelry designers adhere to subtle proportions there is a je ne sais quoi factor about their overall design style that often leaves me at a loss for words.

Stylistically speaking Japanese jewelry is streamlined and elegant with just the right balance of either gemstone accents or intricately carved metal surfaces that render a surprising amount of visual depth. The artistry is a quiet dance of form and understated color that cultivates jewelry items of striking yet delicate beauty.

A graduate of Japan’s Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry, New Zealand-based designer Miyazaki masterfully brings the traditional aesthetic of “elegant simplicity” to necklaces strung with black pearls, a sterling silver and gold cherry blossom necklace, and a 24-karat gold gingko leaf necklace.

Miyazaki holds fast to maintaining equilibrium in designs that celebrate flora and the iconography of his homeland such as his detail-oriented, miniature geisha fan brooches. The collection is a gorgeous amalgamation of embossed etchings and faceted engravings tempered with gemstones.

“I want to achieve balance and harmony (Wabi-Sabi) in my work. Working in Aotearoa, New Zealand is wonderful for an artist because of its unique mix of cultures,” he says. “In New Zealand I experience a freedom that is hard to find where I can draw from both my culture and that of my new home.”

Miyazaki has cultivated jewelry for 22 years and is the owner of Form Gallery, located in Christchurch, which he established in 1993.

In 1999, during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum, he had the distinct honor of having one of his jewelry pieces presented as a gift to then 19-year-old Chelsea Clinton.

“I begin with an idea and put the design on paper. I experiment with different materials and methods in order to translate my ideas into actuality,” says the designer.

“I enjoy the design process and seeing the finished piece made. Through this process, I am able to establish the origin of the idea and its meaning or story.”

Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and 9-Karat Gold Cherry Blossom Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Fan Brooch
Photo 3 (bottom left): Pine Needles Necklace
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