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Geisha Gold

Here’s a piece that’s worth a second look: Sylvie Corbelin’s pair of intricately designed geisha earrings. A long-time Parisian jewelry designer, Corbelin finds her work inspired by women in artistic professions, a path that led her to the geisha — or, as Corbelin explains, “a mysterious woman who dedicates her life to fine arts.” In fact, the Japanese word “geisha” literally means “artist.” Geishas are adorned with varying degrees of paints and makeup, depending on their ranking, a facade that the earrings mimic with sterling silver (rather than the white rice paint used in real life). According to Corbelin, the earrings seem to come with personalities of their own, so much so that they have names: Geiko, which often refers to a geisha specifically from the western Japan region, and Maiko, a word meaning an apprentice geisha (literally, a “dance child”).

In full geisha fashion, this dangling duo is clad in 18 karats of gold lined with rubies, emeralds, tourmaline, and turquoise to capture the spiced-up color of a geisha’s kimono. Each geisha earring also has a diamond-studded fan to give a “silky finish” to the ensemble.

These 4-inch long earrings will be showcased at the end of May in Las Vegas, priced at $25,000 — quite an success for Geiko and Maiko’s (not to mention Corbelin’s) career!


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