A Japanese company has used traditional gold and platinum painting techniques to create one-of-a-kind artworks on Australian opals – and is now on the lookout for a local distributor to sell them to Australians.
Bejewel Co managing director Teruko Okamoto said the company created the first ‘Ran Opals’ (named after the Japanese word for orchid flower) three years ago as she wanted to combine Japanese art with the natural beauty of the Australian opal.
She said each Ran Opal took “one to two months” to complete.
“We consider each opal’s natural patterns and then add our own complementary designs to enhance their beauty.”
Okamoto said the process of creating a Ran Opal involved six key steps:
- Applying an adhesive liquid to the opal so that the gold and platinum paint and urushi (the natural lacquer from the sap of the Urushi tree) stick to it
- Line drawing the design on the stone
- Painting the design on the stone with gold, platinum and urushi
- Drying the stone in a special bath for one to two days
- Rubbing the stone
- Repeating the painting, drying and rubbing process seven to 10 times
Bejewel has produced more than 2000 Ran Opals and currently stocks around 200 loose Ran opals as well as around 100 finished jewellery pieces.
“Each Ran Opal is totally unique,” said Okamoto.
“We make collections which consist of similar designs (eg, cherry, rose and dolphin) as they are needed by our customers but each piece is still different.”
“Ran Opals will take sometime to get known, because it is totally new and different from other jewellery,” she said, “but I am confident it will be popular around the world.”
Ran Opals are currently sold in Japan and Russia.
For more information visit www.bejewel.co.jp