Beyond Jewelry

Make Platinum Memories: In Japan, Platinum’s Unique Patina Is Revered As a Roadmap of Life’s Journey

Think: You have worn your platinum jewelry during some of the most amazing moments of your life. Over time, just like the life you lead, platinum develops a luster all its own known as a “patina.” Platinum’s luster will soften over time showing shallow cross hatches and lines. A finish that is unique to platinum, many purists love it as it symbolizes authenticity.

 

In Japan, a country where art and life frequently intersect, the patina on a piece of platinum jewelry is beloved, a sign that the jewelry has traveled with someone on his or her life’s path. “Japan’s platinum jewelry owners do appreciate a new finish as much as Americans,” says Asako Sato, Senior Manager of Platinum Guild International Japan, “but the culture also appreciates the effects of time on inanimate objects—not only concerning platinum jewelry, but in other areas as well.”

 

Japanese attitudes towards beauty differ somewhat from those in the United States, as signs of wear and change are viewed as having a unique, personal aesthetic. “In old cities like Kyoto and Nara,” says Asako, “there are statues of the Buddah that were carved more than 1,000 years ago. They were originally gold-plated, but the surface has worn with time, so now we can see the base of copper and lacquer. We do not want to re-plate them.”

 

A culture that respects and venerates its ancestors, family heirlooms can show the story of a life well lived. “We welcome platinum’s patina as a memorial,” says Asako.

 

Like the traditions of the country’s tea ceremony, the practice of Zen or the reverence of wabi-sabi—a philosophy that centers on the acceptance of transience and imperfection—platinum’s patina takes on a significant meaning in the land of the rising sun. “The Japanese,” says Asako, “tend to respect and value something aged more than shiny, bright things”.

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