From international designers, to the underground scene and on to pearl jewelers, Tokyo is a gem.
Mikimoto is the ultimate specialist when it comes to cultured pearls, and for a good reason, as he was the one who invented them back in 1893. What’s more, their building in the Ginza district is well worth the detour to see its very 70s facade with its windows like bubbles. As for jewelry, there’s an impressive choice. It’s the opportunity to discover all types of pearls, from the white, grey and gold Akoyas to the extremely rare conch-pearls in an array of delicate pinks.
Tasaki, the other Japanese pearl specialist has some 500 necklaces in stock along with an impressive selection of engagement rings. Beyond that, there’s the remarkable creations of artistic director Thakoon Panichgul who’s best known for his fashion designs. Pearls trim a shark jaw necklace or a double ring evoking a knuckle-duster. Tasaki also uses the two designers, Marie-Hélène de Taillac and Mélanie Georgacopoulos, for capsule collections. The French designer’s style is expressed through long necklaces of pearls punctuated with golden mouths; the young Greek designer’s is somewhat more experimental. She cuts the pearls in half to emphasize the different layers of mother-of-pearl that form them.
A temple to trendiness at Dover Street Market
No risks in the selection as all the trendy international designers are here, from Bibi van der Velden to Venyx, Delfina Delettrez, Noor Fares and Amedeo. So no real surprises then, for those who’ve already frequented the showrooms of London and New York. On the other hand, both the sales staff and customers sport their jewelry in surprising new ways that can be a great source of inspiration.
Gothic at A Story
The antithesis of Dover Street Market. Alongside its gothic-grunge watches, the brand offers an interesting selection of 100% Japanese jewelry. Completely unknown designers like Chord, Clas, Nyul, Caspol Glass or Tomoko Tokuda have come up with a selection of jewelry made from old watch dials, as poison rings complete with animal skeletons in patinated metal, skulls and so on.
Punk at Ambush
Verbal and Yoon both friends of the fashion designer Sacai and of Kitsuné have just opened their own store. Street culture, punk, Pop art and music inspire this duo from the Tokyo underground scene. Along with the clothing label they offer earrings in the form of vinyl records, double rings sporting a nail, and padlocks pendants. Nothing really revolutionary, but strong on look and reasonably priced as most pieces are in silver or gold plated.
Lilliputian at Ahkah
At Ahkah, the jewelry is XXS, the names are so small they could be designed for a newborn, there’s a Lilliputian-sized dragon pendant and the diamonds are not bigger than a head pin. Launched by Akemi Fukuoji twenty years ago, Ahkah perfectly fits the Japanese taste for the minutely small and micro-detailed. To celebrate this anniversary, a new store has opened in a beautiful garden with all the signature models. It’s just a few meters away from the store devoted to engagement rings.
Also in Paris at the Bon Marché.
Minimalism at Jui Box
Nestled in a cul-de-sac near Omotesando, this store done out in white tiles belongs to the very discreet Shihara. On offer here are geometric pieces with pure lines like the angular signet rings, square bangles and triangular earrings. As for signature pieces there’s the extremely fine gold chains stiffened in lines to form a square.
Also in Paris, at the Bon Marché.
Delicate at Noguchi Jewels
Naohiko Noguchi had a past history in Europe in jewelry before launching his own brand in 2004. The delicate and extremely fine pieces are available in 14-karat gold that’s been perforated like lace or hammered. In a soft shade that’s less yellow than classic gold, they have a vintage charm that’s further enhanced by white, cognac or slightly smoky micro-diamonds, and by the occasional irregular-shaped grey pearl. A crazy charm.
Also in Paris, at White Bird.
A vintage watch
This multi-brand store has all the top names at the moment, from Gucci to Isabel Marant and Loewe. It’s the same for jewelry with a selection of pieces by Charlotte Chesnais and the Japanese, Hirotaka. Not to be missed are the vintage women’s watches in impeccable condition from such brands as Oméga, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Rolex.