Cherry blossom trees are popular around the world, but in Washington, D.C.—the city neighboring my suburban Virginia town—they are a very big deal.
D.C.’s Japanese cherry blossom trees, which ring the amoeba-shaped Tidal Basin, were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city in 1912. When the trees are in full bloom, their branches form ethereal canopies of pale pink petals, making an already lovely park a breathtakingly beautiful destination—but only for two weeks of the year.
Traipsing through the trees is an annual tradition for many beltway residents, who keep a close watch on exactly when the blossoms open each year (there’s even a live #BloomCam trained on the trees, which are expected to bloom fully the first week of April).
This year, D.C. city officials are dissuading people from coming to visit the trees, worrying that crowds will spread COVID-19 infections. Time will tell if that request will be heeded by blossom-loving residents, or if perhaps the city will find a way to limit foot traffic.
In the meantime, I’ve found a glittering consolation prize—and one with blooms that will never fade—in the jewelry world.
Syna Jewels, which was founded in 2003 by husband-and-wife team Dharmesh and Namrata Kothari, has crafted three stunning pendant necklaces depicting cherry blossom branches in full bloom. We caught up with Namrata to find out more about them.
JCK: Hi! Have you always had an affinity for cherry trees?
Namrata Kothari: Spring is simply the happiest time of the year. We love to see the vibrant flowers bloom around us and lighten up the mood after winter’s grays. The pink of the cherry blossom is by far our favorite!
What inspired the round design, and depicting branches as you did? Why not just the bloom?
All Syna shapes are typically round, with soft curves and silhouettes, which is why we chose the design. We wanted to design the full picture of a precious moment in nature that lasts only a few weeks.
What made you gravitate to abalone shell and mother-of-pearl—materials not commonly found in fashion fine jewelry these days?
We used three different materials as the base for these pendants—abalone shell, mother-of-pearl, and oxidized silver—giving each one its own distinct feeling and style. We love the organic and natural look of the shells—the reflection of light on them is just magnificent. They’re also relatively easy to work with in terms of carving and creating intricate details.
What were the main challenges of fabricating these pieces?
It can always be difficult to create such a detailed concept on a small surface, but we knew the cherry blossoms’ story needed to come across exactly as we envisioned it. I’m a little biased, but I’m proud of what we were able to create!
Top: Jardin Cherry Blossom pendant in 18k yellow gold with oxidized silver, champagne diamonds, and emeralds; Syna (all photos courtesy of Syna Jewels)
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