Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken ceramics, gemstones, and other materials by creating smooth (but intentionally obvious) gold seams with a fast-drying lacquer, is enjoying a resurgence in the fine jewelry world.
Italian fine jewelry brand Pomellato partnered with a master Japanese kintsugi artist to create a collection of striking pieces for 2021’s Paris Haute Couture Week. And indie designers Jamie Joseph and Jennifer Dawes have both debuted lines featuring mended gemstones inspired by kintsugi.
The latest collection from fine jewelry brand Milamore puts a new spin on kintsugi by spotlighting the ancient art’s seams as stand-alone designs, without the materials they might have rejoined. The 18k gold pieces, many of which include diamonds, look as though they once held pieces of lapis lazuli or cracking ceramic that have since fallen away, leaving only the meandering lines of gold behind.
The 2-year-old Milamore is based in New York City, but its pieces are made exclusively in Japan—and Milamore cofounder Azusa Yamato comes from a long line of respected jewelry crafters in Japan.
The brand’s other cofounder, CEO and creative director George Inaki Root, tells JCK, “I was drawn to kintsugi because I’m in love with its philosophy. The focus is on the ‘repair’ of broken pieces. This holds such deep metaphorical meaning.”
He explains, “Regardless of our gender, age, or background, we all have challenges or ‘broken’ parts. I’ve always been attracted to the way people overcome or mend. There is resilience and strength in that!”
In the new collection, he says, kintsugi is represented by the gold lines and “humans are the broken pieces,” and “the kintsugi jewelry can only be completed when the wearer wears it. The jewelry is a reminder that everyone has willpower and strength to overcome their brokenness.”
Follow Emili Vesilind on Instagram: @emilivesilind