By Christie Dang
While it may be challenging to inject the “wow” factor in a jewellery design, a simple “oh” is sometimes enough to amaze clients, especially millennials who are constantly looking for extraordinary ways to express themselves. Budding designer Keiko Mori from Japan established her jewellery brand “ohrora” in 2014 with young, energetic and artistically rebellious jewellery lovers like herself in mind.
JNA: Could you share with us the idea behind ohrora?
Keiko Mori: The concept comes from an aurora, which is a natural light display predominantly seen in high-altitude areas, as well as the splendour of nature, and the mysteries of the galaxy and the universe.
The “oh” in ohrora represents the pleasant surprise I want to elicit from buyers through my jewellery pieces. I normally use simple elements in my designs such as pearls and coloured gemstones of decent quality. My aim is to see people wearing my jewellery in their everyday life because my pieces go well with casual wear. They can use my jewellery whenever they feel most comfortable. An ohrora piece should become an essential part of their lives.
JNA: How would you describe your design philosophy?
Mori: My designs are subdued and minimalistic, with clean strokes and a more modern touch. I like to preserve the most organic form of the materials that comprise the entire piece. I prefer working with natural materials most of the time because each gemstone has an innate beauty, and by injecting my own personality and life experience into the stone, I make it more special and fun. I give the stone a unique character. My jewellery pieces are custom-made and most of the inspiration comes from my clients who share their life stories with me.
JNA: What kind of materials do you use in your jewellery?
Mori: Freshwater and Akoya pearls, and a variety of coloured gemstones figure a lot in my designs. By combining these materials, I create a sea of design possibilities and style ideas. The sky is the limit. Most of my jewellery pieces are either in silver or 18-karat gold, depending on which metals or gemstones suit my customers’ diverse preferences.
JNA: What do today’s young consumers look
for in a jewellery piece?
Mori: Traditionally, people buy jewellery as a form of investment. Sometimes they obtain a piece of jewellery as a family heirloom, which is passed on from one generation to another. For many young consumers nowadays, a piece of jewellery is something that they adorn themselves with, or a way to celebrate their personalities, beliefs and dreams, and what they hold dear to their hearts. The modern consumer needs a piece of jewellery that can be worn every day to complement her style and express her fashion sense. A jewellery piece then becomes an indispensable part of her overall look.
JNA: Where does your inspiration come from?
Mori: I started designing jewellery as a student and I am still learning through my work. I take inspiration from nature, the people around me and their experiences. I’m particularly drawn to the beauty of the galaxy when the sky is full of stars. I’d like to believe there is life beyond the galaxy and that it is a powerful source of energy. This comes full circle with the name of my brand, ohrora, and my fascination for nature and the universe.