Monday, December 27, 2010


The four sub-gardens of Japan’s Heian Shrine Garden display exquisite Japanese architecture, as well as tranquil amenities like ponds that are offset by beautiful arrangements of cherry blossoms, irises, and azaleas. Japan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Emi Fukushima.

While the classic Akoya pearl necklace is perhaps most often associated with Japanese jewelry, the country of course has a rich jewelry history characterized by vivid items inspired by the Shinto faith, Haiku poetry, and the tsuba the round, small protective area on the handles of Samurai swords.

Japanese jewelry is also renowned for the use of centuries-old techniques. Maki-e is an 8th century method used by Japanese jewelry maker Yoshi that involves the application of gold, copper or silver lacquer on metal; and Mokume-gane is a 17th century lamination process of mixed metals that produces vivid, wood-like color patterns.

With over 25 years of experience, Fukushima cultivates her stunning, rustic designer jewelry with Japanese-created silver precious metal clay (PMC), washi paper, polymer clay and the Mokume-gane technique.
The wonderful complexity of surface textures, forms and colors makes for truly unique, wearable art. I love the malleability of PMC; the way the silver pendants resemble freshly unearthed ancient artifacts.

Pieces like her gingko leaf, crescent moon and wrapped bead pendant necklaces are a powerful blend of Old World know-how with beautifully organic yet timeless proportions. “Each piece is made individually by hand,” says Fukushima. “I create distinctive, Japanese-themed jewelry and they are each signed by me.”

In addition to the painstaking creation of her jewelry and handling administrative responsibilities, the California-based designer tirelessly participates in teaching the techniques behind her handmade jewelry designs through televised craft shows, including HGTV’s The Carol Duvall Show, and craft publications.

She is also a member of American Craft Council, Society of Craft Designers, Association of Crafts and Creative Industries, and the South Bay Polymer Guild.
Photo 1 (top right): Bamboo Kimono Pendant Necklace with Black Cord
Photo 2 (center): Coin and Washi Paper Fan Brooch
Photo 3 (bottom left): Polymer Clay Mokume-gane Pendant Necklace
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