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The Yamanashi Jewelry Museum

Learn about one of Japan’s top jewelry regions and craft some pieces of your own in Kofu!

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Today, our team headed to the Yamanashi Jewelry Museum located just a 7-minute walk from Kofu Station. Our goal was to not only learn the immense history of the local jewelry industry but to also try out their in-house, jewelry-making workshops!

The Yamanashi Jewelry Museum is affiliated with the Yamanashi Prefectural Institute of Gemology and Jewelry Art. The museum houses a variety of display items, such as: raw materials, jewelry-making instruments, and local pieces made right here in Yamanashi. There are English translations around the museum, so I suggest taking your time when walking through the exhibits so you can thoroughly enjoy each of the dazzling pieces on display.

Origins of the Yamanashi Jewelry Industry

In the first room of the museum, you can learn about the history of the different jewels and why crystals are so important to Yamanashi. According to our friendly guide, Yamanashi was originally a big hub for the mining of crystals. Subsequently, unique crystal-processing techniques were developed. Furthermore, developments in metal crafting techniques also progressed! However, as time passed, crystal deposits lessened and the prefecture decided to focus on the imports of jewels and crystals instead. Through Yamanashi’s unique processing techniques, paired with high-quality crystal imports from places like our sister state in Brazil, Yamanashi has made its name as a top producer in the Japanese jewelry market! 

The Experience

There are two different types of workshops offered at the museum. You can choose between polishing (pendant stones) and precious metal crafts (rings or necklaces). I decided to challenge the ring-making workshop! I picked out a nice yellow-ish stone, and chose a ring base to allow the jewel to sit horizontally. Then, all I had to do was set the stone in place!

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On the other hand, our French language reporter, Camille, tried out the necklace-making workshop where she crafted a chain.

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Our Portuguese language reporter, Diego, decided to take the stone-polishing route and spent his time polishing away.

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Overall, each workshop lasted about 30 minutes, and I considered them to be relatively beginner-friendly. My favorite part was when we had the chance to work together with professional craftsmen (whose works were displayed in the museum). They helped guide us through each step of the crafting process!

For those who are interested in getting your own, unique piece of Yamanashi jewelry, I recommend checking out the local brands “Koo-fu” and “SIMPRICH”. You can find them available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop!

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The museum’s hours are from 10:00AM to 5:30PM on Wednesdays through Mondays (closed on Tuesdays). They’re located on the first floor of the Disaster Prevention Building in the Yamanashi Prefectural Government Office. Reservations are only required if you want to participate in one of the jewelry-making workshops.

Please check out their homepage for more information:

https://www.pref.yamanashi.jp/yjm/en/

 

Published on

  • August 26, 2021

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