Balance: Tasaki's 70th-anniversary book

TASAKI celebrates its 70th anniversary with Balance, a book about its history and design journey published by Rizzoli and written by Maria Doulton.

Tasaki Rizzoli book cover

It isn't easy to imagine that one of Japan's most sophisticated and admired jewellers began life on the water with a small pearl farm. When Tasaki commissioned me to write the book, like the company itself, the pearl farm (below) in Japan became the starting point for 'Balance'.

The story of Shunsaku Tasaki is remarkable. It starts with his parents' fledgling pearl farm in Nagasaki, southern Japan. Shunsaku Tasaki's insight, patience, and some lucky timing took him from helping out on his family's small-scale pearl farm to becoming the largest producer of Akoya pearls in the world and one of Japan's greatest luxury brands.

Tasaki, the Japanese jeweller, is also the largest producer of Akoya pearls in the world. The firm also cultivates South Sea pearls. 

At the heart of Tasaki's story is a deep connection to the sea and a profound respect for Nature. Shunshaku Tasaki's grandfather was a fisherman who gave him this enduring bond to the sea. Tangled amongst the haul in a net, occasionally, an oyster would reveal a pearl, a cause for celebration and a welcome additional income to the family's meagre earnings. This fascination with pearls and respect for Nature marked Shunsaku and how he created his company.  Shunsaku treasured the first pearls he found and carried these five pearls with him all his life in a pouch sewn by his mother.  

Balance Signature Akoya pearl ring
The Japanese jewellery brand Tasaki offers a very modern take on that most classic of gems: pearls. This Balance Signature ring, set with five Akoya pearls, was designed by Thakoon Panichgul and is perfect for lovers of minimalist jewellery.

Tasaki's meticulous attention to detail starts on the farm, where each day, open-top boats head out to tend to the oysters suspended in baskets from thousands of buoys dotted around the mineral-rich bays of the semi-tropical Kujuku Islands.

Such closeness to the source material nurtures respect and a complete understanding of its qualities. Tasaki adopted a similarly rigorous approach to sourcing its diamonds. For over two decades, as a De Beers sight-holder, the firm buys its diamonds directly from the mining company, cutting and polishing them in-house. 

Showing a fluid connection between jewels and the catwalk, Prabal Gurung designed both the outfit as well as the extra-long pearl earrings worn by model Candice Swanepoel at New York Fashion Week February 2019.

Because of this, Tasaki has dared to take the pearl in daring new design directions.  In 2009, Toshikazu Tajima was appointed CEO and is credited with taking Tasaki onto the global stage. This visionary leader, with a background in fashion, found a way to honour Tasaki's heritage of pearl farming while growing the house into an international luxury brand. Under Tajima's leadership, Tasaki appointed a design team that includes fashion designers Thakoon Panichgul and Prabal Gurung and jeweller Melanie Georgacopoulos (below). Since then, Tasaki has forged a name as the avant-garde pearl and diamond jewellery creator.

Read more about Tasaki's design philosophy here

Making a statement, Melanie Georgacopoulos' ’ Rectangle necklace is made of white freshwater pearls and oxidised sterling silver and drapes seductively over the shoulders.

The book is named 'Balance' in honour of Thakoon Panichgul's groundbreaking 2010 collection, which is based on a ring composed of a row of five pearls set on a plain gold bar. This collection pays tribute to the first five pearls discovered by the founder, Shunsaku Tasaki.


Support our Work with a Contribution of any Amount

We need your help to keep The Jewellery Editor’s independence so that we can continue to offer quality writing that’s open to everyone around the world.

It means we can give a full and varied picture of the big, wide world of jewellery and watches whether it is on our website or social media channels.

Every contribution is hugely appreciated and key to ensuring our future.

Terms and conditions

Shop this article

Our shopping list