Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Depending on the time of year, you can view wisteria, roses, dogwood, azaleas, and peonies within Jindai Botanical Garden in Tokyo, Japan.

There are over 4,500 varieties of trees and plant life spanning the length of the garden, as well as a greenhouse equipped with a lilly pond and tropical plants.

Tokyo is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Yoshi Ishizuka.

Ishizuka was never the type who backed away from a challenge. At age 20, she moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in UCLA to learn English.

As her grasp of the language improved she took the advice of a friend and attended beautician school. For many years Ishizuka flourished as a beauty consultant to the well-to-do of Beverly Hills.

After a friend asked Ishizuka's advice about purchasing a diamond, "The experience excited me so much that I decided to become a jewelry artist," she says. Building on that enthusiasm, Ishizuka attended the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and subsequently received a degree in gemology.

Now living in Santa Monica, California, Ishizuka strives to combine aspects of her American hometown, and the city of Tokyo in her handmade jewelry designs, "I love Santa Monica's early summer sunsets that color the sea and sky a beautiful purple. I also love downtown Tokyo's nostalgic scenery."

Ishizuka uses 18-karat gold, jade, amber, diamonds, and rubies to create stunning pieces of jewelry. Her designing instinct is motivated by "the power contained in gems, each customer's tastes and lifestyles, and my sense of beauty."

Ishizuka's "sense of beauty" involves a centuries-old, Japanese ornamental technique known as
maki-e. In the 8th century, the maki-e technique was primarily used on bowls, and Buddhist altars.

The method involves painting images on lacquer using gold, copper, silver or platinum powder.

 Ishizuka implements the technique to create designer jewelry of exceptional beauty. Her primary goal is "to design the one-and-only piece of jewelry for each individual customer."
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Butterfly and Flower Makie-Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Summer Wisteria Maki-e Pendant Necklace
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