Amulets of love on display at the Karats of Vail gallery
If you go ...
Who: Pearl specialist Koji Kawamoto.
Where: Karats of Vail.
When: Thursday through Tuesday.
More information: Call 970-476-4760.
VAIL — Let’s forget the flowers and chocolate this Valentine’s Day and consider expressing our love to that special someone with a truly unique token.
You’ve probably heard that jewelry is the No. 1 path into a woman’s heart. But when it comes to selecting the perfect necklace or pair of earrings, where do you even begin? That’s when things get challenging.
It’s hard to go wrong with pearls, however. Lucky for all of you empty handed lovebirds, pearl specialist Koji Kawamoto is in town this weekend for a special Valentine’s show at Karats of Vail.
Hailing from Mie Prefecture, Japan, the very place where pearl culturing was discovered more than a century ago, Kawamoto specializes in matching a set of pearls — be it a necklace string, pair of earrings, bracelet or ring — to the person who wears it in such a way that the person’s skin tones, eyes and the pearls themselves are set aglow.
“I believe that all of my pearls will eventually meet someone,” Kawamoto said. “Something just clicks in my mind and I make a combination.”
The pearl specialist, who is now based in New York City, brings a large collection of traditional white Akoya pearls as well as fresh water specimens ranging from pink to lavender, black pearls, Tahitian and South Sea pearls and other varieties gathered from exotic locations all over the globe ranging in hues from blue, pistachio, aubergine, chocolate and those which seem to catch every color in the room. When matching a set to the person who wears them, the person does not need to be present. Kawamoto can pair pearls by simply looking at a photograph of the person who will wear the piece.
“Pearls are a symbol of everlasting love and beauty,” Kawamoto said. “Pearls have a power to carry and pass your heart, so your heart will always be with the one you love.”
Although pearls might appear simple, according to Japanese lore, the glistening orbs actually possess an unusual power. In addition to catching the light of one’s eyes, they can impart a certain strength to whoever wears them.
“In Japan, we believe that pearls protect us like an amulet,” Kawamoto said. “The gorgeous growing luster of pearls are one of the most beautiful things in the universe. They are a rare, perfect gift from nature … very romantic. The warmth, softness and shine of pearls represents a special connection between loved ones.”