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A Fine Balance

book club | May 23, 2024

Among the bustling streets and kaleidoscopic blur of Ginza lies a sanctuary of elegance: the seven floors of TASAKI in the heart of Tokyo. Here, groups of women gather, their excited whispers punctuated by exclamations of delight as they meticulously inspect, try on and purchase exquisite pieces of jewellery for themselves. This is a world where you can find that classic string of pearls, symbolic whether given to sweet sixteens in America, or in Japan where pearl-crusted tiaras and crowns are coveted to top off wedding looks.

Exploring the history of TASAKI reveals a balance of precision and poetry, every piece a testament to Japanese craftsmanship and the goal of attaining beauty and perfection. Founded in 1954 by Mitsukoshi Ltd., TASAKI swiftly emerged as a beacon of excellence in the realm of pearl jewellery, redefining the landscape of what had been a classic, yet rare, material, a symbol of purity and perfection, meticulously cultivated and transformed. From the depths of the ocean to the hands of master artisans, each pearl undergoes a journey of metamorphosis in a rare transparent and traceable way.

On the pristine shores of Japan, TASAKI's pearl farm is a tranquil oasis where tradition and punk-rock innovation converge in harmony. Splitting pearls in half? Chopping off its top? Piercing them with diamonds and studs? Most jewellers would be afraid, TASAKI not so much.

Fast forward 70 years since its founding and the jewellery brand now marks its anniversary with a tome to savour, collect and refer to. "BALANCE," penned by the jewellery editor Maria Doulton, offers a pearl of wisdom about TASAKI's storied history and its alchemy of pearls.

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Published by Rizzoli, the book’s title takes its name from its bestseller 'Balance' range, conceived by Creative Director Thakoon Panichgul, a designer more known for his fashion than his ways with jewels (yet another proof point of TASAKI’s courage to take a bet).The book delves into the Maison's avant-garde design ethos and the craftsmanship that defines its creations. From the genesis of the first 'balance' ring, inspired by founder Shunsaku Tasaki's childhood keepsakes, to the evolution of groundbreaking designs like 'danger' and 'refined rebellion,' each page is food for a hungry soul needing a creative hit and inspiration to challenge the norm.

Through interviews with TASAKI’s roster of creative partners, from Thakoon to London-based Melanie Georgacopoulos, NY-based Prabal Gurung and Paris-based watchmaker Fiona Krüger, BALANCE offers insight into TASAKI's relentless pursuit of innovation. From red-carpet galas to its campaigns lensed by the likes of Paolo Roversi and Tyler Mitchell most recently, TASAKI's influence extends far beyond jewellery, leaving an indelible imprint on contemporary jewellery culture and planting many more grains of seeds to come.