Renowed pearl jeweler to visit Vail in 2019
For his entire life, Koji Kawamoto has been surrounded by pearls. He hails from Mie Prefecture, a small village in Japan where the process of culturing pearls was first discovered in 1893. It was the innate beauty of these gems that inspired Koji’s creativity that led him to not only be a pearl expert but a prominent jewelry designer whose innovative designs are coveted by clients and jewelry galleries worldwide.
“Something always clicks in my head when I begin a new piece,” said Koji. “I have so many pieces in different colors—from white to champagne and the Tahitian pieces in green, blue, aubergine and pistachio. I put all of those pieces in front of me and something clicks—and then I begin putting them all together.”
Koji is meticulous when he begins his creations. Film director Frederico Fellini once said, “All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” And Koji seems to hear the pearls. They dictate his designs, which eventually begins a conversation between his clients and the pieces they choose—as each pearl has a specific meaning; something to say. The various colors of pearls have a special meaning, too.
For instance, Gold represents wealth and prosperity. Those who wear blue pearls will find love. Pink pearls bring fame and good fortune. Brown represents dependability and harmony and white symbolizes innocence and new beginnings.
Koji’s latest collection showcases a melange of exquisite pearls in strands from 15 to 72 inches. “I have mixed all types of pearls and colors into my necklaces,” said Koji. “I have mixed golden, white, pink and lavender colors with baroques and round-shaped pearls as well as ombre strands”
There are many ancient stories and beliefs that are associated with pearls. It is said that they offer protection and attract wealth and luck. They are also known for their calming effect and are said to balance one’s karma. For thousands of years, many myths and folktales have surrounded this gem.
Early Chinese civilization considered black pearls a symbol of wisdom and believed they were formed within a dragon’s head. The ancient Japanese believed that pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures such as mermaids, nymphs and angels. One Persian legend tells that pearls were created when a rainbow met the earth after a storm, the stones imperfections the result of thunder and lightning. Ancient Egyptians prized the gems so much that they were buried with them.
An early religious account of the pearl claims that Adam and Eve wept after they were cast out of Paradise, creating a lake of pearls. The white pearls were believed to be from Eve’s tears—and the black pearls, Adam’s.
The myths and legends about pearls only add to their beauty and mystery. And that’s exactly the joy Koji receives from the pieces he designs.
When Koji creates a piece for a client, he is very specific—he makes sure a piece speaks to them.
“When I custom-make a piece of jewelry, I always consider the buyer’s coloring: the eyes, hair, skin tone,” he shares. “Even (their) personality. That leads me to create a truly custom-made piece.”
As Karats owner, jewelry designer, Dan Telleen said, “An ancient Greek legend belief was that pearls were the teardrops from the moon. So if you want to give a woman the sun and the moon, a gift of pearls is a heavenly way to show your admiration. And Koji’s work speaks to all of this.”
Koji will be at Karats in Vail Village to display and sell his jewelry from March 29 to April 1, 2019.