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A polite bow to Barneys former VP Connie Darrow propelled the Japanese-born scarf-maker Kazuko onto a new path designing and making jewellery. Under her jacket, Kazuko wore her own creation: a chunk of white kunzite wrapped in gold wire attached to a safety pin.
Darrow loved it. Tangles of gold wire wrapped around colourful semi-precious stones remain Kazuko’s signature. While her chunky bracelets, simple pendants and waterfall necklaces are etherally beautiful, they have bewitched people with their healing properties too. Madonna and Carly Simon have worn them for good luck; actress Betty Buckley won’t open a Broadway play without hers; and L.A. filmmaker Allan Mindel wears a rose quartz heart to all of his debuts.
Kazuko wears a chunky Tibetan-turquoise, Chinese-turquoise and clear-quartz bracelet. “The interesting thing about turquoise is that if you are not well, the colour starts to fade,” she says. Kazuko believes that wearing turquoise like a talisman helped her get through a serious illness. “I’m not the type of person who believes in New Age things,” she says. “I grew up with a mindset that you have to prove that it works, intellectually.” She’s a convert to the healing power of gemstones, having experienced the effects herself.
More jewel healing qualities on the next page!On occasion, the New York-based designer has been asked to create special pieces for friends who have been seriously ill. Although Kazuko has been called a healer and a priestess, thse are monikers she doesn’t like. “I’m an artist, not a healer. I’m not trying to change anyone’s life,” she says. “I make wearable sculptures. I’m just lucky to use the medium of natural stones, which vibrate with energy. They transmute the energy I put in as an artist. People wearing them have an interaction, then people call it healing — but it’s up to them if it heals.”
As for the kunzite that started it all, Kazuko still owns it. At the time, she wore it simply because she liked it — but kunzite is known to dissolve negativity and aid confidence. Maybe it was a fortunate coincidence. Then again, maybe not.
Kazuko’s jewellery is available at select stores — which she calls her galleries — around the world: Barneys in the United States; Holt Renfrew, Bloor Street, in Toronto; Selfridges and Browns in London; and Colette in Paris. Prices range from $145 for a pendant necklace to $3,850 for a floating wire necklace.