Japan is known for its innovative sense of style and its creative fashion – but there’s one more field in which the Japanese excel – and that is the world of high-end jewelry. Having a long history of pearl culture, Japan’s jewelry makers started off by incorporating domestically grown pearls into their designs.
They also learned the Western techniques of working with precious metals, such as gold and platinum. In the 19th century, Japan also started importing and appreciating stones – diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and more. Just like any other craft borrowed from the West, jewelry making was quickly learned and polished to perfection by Japanese craftsmen – that’s why you’ll come across many high-end jewelry brands in Japan. Here are five that are particularly worth checking out.
Wako’s flagship store is one of Tokyo’s best-known landmarks – namely the clock tower building in Ginza. They are also one of the oldest jewelry brands in all of Japan, being around since the Meiji era (the last decades of the 19th century). They specialize in luxury jewelry using pearls and diamonds, but you can also find casual sets among their products. They also offer custom-made bridal rings, as well as art pieces, in the spirit of Italian jewelry maker Bucellati.
Address:4-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone number: (+81)3-3562-2111
Official website: http://www.wako.co.jp/translation/en.html
If you’re on the look for authentic Japanese pearls, Mikimoto is your best bet. The company specializes in pearls and incorporates them into various designs – from truly luxurious sets to modest, casual ones. They also cater to women of all ages, creating both timeless classics and modern takes on the beauty of pearls.
Gimel is the quirky child of the Japanese jewelry making industry. Their designs combine precious metals and stones into unique designs – such as lizards, bug-eaten leaves, and angel figures. Gimel is certainly not aiming for timeless elegance, like Wako or Mikimoto. However, their designs are certainly unique, and will definitely be appreciated even after a hundred years of ownership and wear. It’s worth noting that Gimel has been purchased by Wako, so their designs are available in the Wako Ginza building as well.
Address:4-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone number: (+81)3-3562-2111
Mokumeganeya is the perfect choice for anyone looking for traditional Japanese motifs. They incorporate details like tiny cherry blossom petals, sakura flowers, and winding shapes that are reminiscent of a flowing river. They are also famous for layering different colors of gold to create the impression of a natural wooden texture – a technique used just by Mokumeganeya.
Interestingly enough, Mokumeganeya started off as a wooden glasses frame shop – hence the name of the brand, which literally translates as ‘wooden glasses shop’. That is probably the history behind the trademark wooden patterns on their creations.
Address: 3-4-18 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Business hour: 11am-8pm
Phone number: (+81)3-6228-6677
Official website: https://www.mokumeganeya.com/e/
Niwaka is a Kyoto-based jewelry maker. Much like Mokumeganeya, Niwaka likes to incorporate Japanese motifs into their designs. However, they are more subtle in their approach, using geometric patterns, knots, light-reflecting diamonds to evoke the Japanese sense of sensibility towards the beauty of simple things. They do bridal collections, luxury sets, and casual jewelry. Another spectacular feature of Niwaka is their flagship store in Kyoto, which is masterfully decorated to go with the philosophy of the brand.
Address: Fukunagacho 105, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-8084 , Japan
Phone number: (+81)75-213-6787
Official website: http://www.niwaka-en.com/
If you’re looking for a special present for someone in your life, be that an engagement ring or a fancy pearl necklace, these Japanese jewelry makers have got your back. Their designs range from timeless to quirky, and their quality is sure to please even the most sophisticated taste. However, all of these are high-end, luxury jewelry makers, so you should probably expect to spend over ¥50,000 on any of their creations.
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