Created 600 million years ago! Pendants of “Itoigawa Natural Jade.”
history dating back to Jomon period, where you can find pieces of it from ruins of that era. Jade, regarded as a symbol of wealth and power last produced in Asuka period, has not been made in Japan; it has been considered as phantasmal stone for a long time. However, circa Showa 13, they discovered jade in the rough at an area now called “Kotakigawa River Jade Gorge” at Itoigawa River of Niigata; this became a proof that there was a culture of handling jade and producing place in Japan. Currently, Japan is dotted with producing places of jade from Hokkaido to Kyushu; however, Itoigawa region is said to be the best producing place both in quality and quantity.
Subsequently, the diggings of Itoigawa Jade were designated as natural monuments, thus banning the mining of jade. However, there is a unique craftsman who has collected tons of Itoigawa Jade in the rough from early on to create even now jade products by processing these precious stones. His name is Mr. Yoshiyuki Akahane of “Itoigawa Hisui Kobo Kotaki” in Matsumoto, Nagano.
Blade-shaped pendant top made from natural pale green Itoigawa Jade, 40000 yen. While the motif is rough and tough, its texture is cool with glossy finish.
Uses only jade produced in Itoigawa
Mr. Akahane’s pieces are centered on motifs of magatama (comma-shaped bead) or kudatama (cylinder-shaped bead), which give off the air of romantic ancient times of the jade which is said to be created 600 million years ago. Since he alone handles from procurement of jade in the rough to manual labor of processing and sales, mass production is impossible. However, his work is always full of integrity; he draws out the beauty of jade’s sparkle to the most by using only carefully selected Itoigawa Jade, polishing it for a long time without artificial processing such as coloration.
Because he uses such precious gems, products such as necklace or rosary would naturally cost hundreds of thousands of yen; however, pendant top like this will be affordable to young customers.
Premium blue jade pendant top; 35,000 yen. Talking of jade, you might imagine the color green, but there are jade in various colors, such as red, blue, white, black, and purple.
Transmit Japan’s jade culture to the world
You cannot confirm the quality of jade in rough unless you cut it; naturally, each gem has different sparkle, shade, patterns and such. It is said that even from a big jade in rough, only a small part can be used in making accessories.
“My mission is to transmit Japan’s jade culture--which may be comparable to Mayan or Incan culture--to the world,” Mr. Akahane says. Having said that, banning of Itoigawa jade excavation continues, so the precious stock of Itoigawa Jade keeps reducing. Those interested in purchase would like to drop by the online store or actual gallery ahead of time.