The Wonder 500

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RADEN JEWELRY (Accessory made of mother-of-pearl)

Gorgeous Takaoka lacquerware from Toyama prefecture dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The lacquer was famous for decorating armor, chests of drawers, trays, and other items via a wide variety of techniques. Raden (a Japanese traditional decorative technique that places shells on the surface of lacquerware), which uses green turban and other mother-of-pearl varieties, is one of these decorative techniques. A mother-of-pearl layer skillfully cut to less than one millimeter thick is transformed into flowers, birds, and landscapes casting brilliant rainbow colors. The magical beauty that floats up from the jet-black surface is breathtaking. It is still used today to decorate flower vases, tea paraphernalia, and interior items. However, it was designer Rie Gomajima, who was born into a long line of jewelers, who thought it would be fun to wear these rainbow tints. She is using this traditional technique to create completely new mother-of-pearl jewelry designed with a modern sensibility, for example, a “four seasons of Japan” themed flower motif.