Favourite: Kavut, Noriko Kasai
Today’s favourite knows a thing or two about fine jewellery. She’s been buying in the biz for over fifteen years and has travelled the globe seeking out fine jewellery’s next bests. Noriko Kasai has been selling online for some time but last month her boutique Kavut opened a brick & mortar. We were so excited to see all her treats in one spot we jumped at the change to play dress up and talk fine jewellery.
We tried everything on, modelled a few things, and talked about pearls over Prosecco. Delightful afternoon to say the least. I fell hard for a pair of Saskia Diez earrings and thanks to my parents for my big ol’ birthday I’m wearing them as I type!
Back to Noriko though and let’s talk jewellery!
How did you start Kavut?
I think when you hit mid/early 30s I realized I didn’t want to continue buying that costume jewellery that was going to last you one season, maybe two. Because jewellery is something very intimate, you remember through it, it’s very close to your heart. Sometimes you get jewellery passed down to you, like this (points to rings on her fingers) are from my mom. It’s a protection almost. That’s where the name Kavut comes from; it’s Japanese warrior’s armour. To me jewellery is kind of like a lucky charm, but still protects you and it’s a nice feeling to have that close to you. I couldn’t find contemporary fine jewellery that I was into—that is beautiful and a little bit edgy.
Lynn Ban stackable diamond rings (black and silver)
Was it harder finding pieces in Canada, or internationally?
Harder in a global sense: but I see so many young fresh designers coming up with fun good quality now.
Do you think fine jewellery is having a moment right now?
Gabriela Artigas diamond rings and bracelet
With names like Gaia Repossi and Melanie Gerogacopoulos, they’re so young, and at the helm of this new surge.
Totally! But remember when shoes became the it thing? I was like ‘what $400 for shoes?’ and now it’s normal.
Exactly the it bag, shoes… Do you think that the Manrepeller’s “Arm Party” had anything to do with this?
I think more and more people are realizing that fast fashion is great fun but jewellery is something that lasts forever. You can hand it down to your kids and you’ll have it forever. Shoes you wear them down. More and more people realize jewellery is something you invest in.
Melanie Georgacopoulos sliced pearl bracelet
Is there a Japanese design sensibility that infiltrated your eye?
Since I was a kid I always checked out the international Vogues. I never remained in Japanese culture; I was so interested in European and North American culture. I really wanted to live outside the country and knew it from when I was in high school. In 1999 I decided to move to Canada I don’t know why (laughs) but really the reason was because I wanted to learn English and French. So I moved to Montréal. I was living there for sixteen years.
How old were you when you moved there?
Twenty. I’m thirty-five now, around there… (laughs). I always liked European design.
Saskia Diez pearl rings
What is your eye most drawn to when you’re buying?
I’m the type of person that when I go in I don’t want to talk to anyone. I go through everything and I know what I want. One thing I really would love to find is the cameos. To find a young designer come up with that. To me the cameo is kind of timeless and now it’s out of style but I think it’s very classy. There’s one company that does them, but I think they’re kind of tacky with like monkeys and skulls.
If I never see another skull ever again!
Exactly, it’s very hard to find someone who does cameos. Because pearls I have enough and more and more people are trying to do the pearls now. It’s just too much.
Lara Bohinc collision rings and earrings
That’s the thing with fine jewellery it’s really easy to copycat. You just don’t use the same materials and can offer the same design at a fraction of the price.
But you know when you have the real thing.
Maison Balzac candles
Tell me about your grandmother’s ring.
This is going to be over a hundred years old and the little one was my mom’s.
Same! I always wear these two and one was my mom’s and the other my parent’s gave to me when I turned ten.
Yeah see, that stuff is so nice. I have one ring it was given to me by my father and every time I have to sign important papers I always wear it.
Melanie Georgacopoulos sliced pearls earrings and rings
There’s a necklace I always wear when I fly, you don’t even think about it you just put it on.
That’s why I love jewellery, I don’t know you put life into it.
Do you ever buy vintage jewellery for yourself, the store?
For myself no, I’m too sensitive. If it’s vintage I feel like I’m getting someone else’s memories and energy. I can’t unless it’s from my friend’s or family then I could. Do you?
Asherali Knopfer earring
Actually no I don’t, funnily enough. I’m ok with clothes. But actually I’ve been looking for men’s signet rings, for the pinky but can’t find any!
I wanted to buy this one line, but their prices were in pounds and it was just too expensive. That’s the thing about Toronto. The clientele here in Yorkville are affluent but don’t really get anything too cool. I wish I could do that, buy everything I believe in. Maybe in London you can do that but in Toronto it’s more of a brand conscious market. That’s the balance I still have to watch myself.
Adeline Cacheux chain rings and necklace
What’s the next trend in fine jewellery?
Diamonds are coming back. More like cocktail ways, using them with sterling silver instead of white gold to keep prices down. Pearls are still everywhere but I don’t think that colour stones are strong yet.
Noriko wearing Haider Ackermann blazer; Jil Sander for Uniqlo tank; & Other Stories pants; Saint Laurent heels; Hermes cuff and watch.
102 Scollard St.
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