In recent years I have become fascinated by the technique of Mokume Gane. This is not my first encounter with Japanese art and culture. In Israel when I was sixteen years old, I learnt Shotokan Karate with Sensei Bob Batwin, and in 1989 passed my examination for san-dan (third black belt) with Sensei Ichikawa in Tokyo. Later, again in Israel, I was an instructor and had over a hundred students.

The combination of Mokume Gane and Shotokan Karate creates an unusual fusion: both more than just a job, together forming a way of life. They have a lot in common: the process of making Mokume Gane involves a dialogue between the maker and the metals he is working with. And it's only if the metals are handled in a certain gentle way that suits their properties, will the final result become a whole fused piece. The same can be said of Karate—the practise of which sets up a dialogue with the soul, an inner journey. The fusion here is between the inner and outer person.

I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of creating pieces using this technique, and dedicate a large amount of my time to this engrossing subject.

On The Art of Jewellery Making

Eytan Aharoni at work in his Canberra studioThe ‘art’ of jewellery making for me is hours of hard work at the bench on the one hand, and the inspiration of years of living and travelling in Africa on the other.

My fascination with beauty in design started at a very young age. I grew up in a house in Haifa surrounded by beautiful objects—from the cutlery and dishes we used at the table, to the old hand-woven Bukhari fabrics the whole family wore on festive occasions. My mother always wore amazing jewellery: richly coloured 22-carat gold, and Afghani Rubies.

I’m sure these things played a large part in determining my choice of occupation!

In my travels through Africa I encountered a wide variety of beautiful gemstones, including Tanzanites, Tsavorites, Tourmalines, and Rhodolites. I began to collect them—some very rare—knowing that one day they would find their way into my work. Gems have indeed become a prominent part of my designs, and I am still travelling once a year, hunting for these stones wherever I go.

Throughout the twenty years I have been making jewellery, the endless combinations of colour and shape have kept me fascinated. However I still believe in clean, simple lines around a gem, because the stone has a life—and light—of its own, and doesn’t need ‘fuss’. The right design is the one that reveals the gem for ‘itself’. And I always hope that some of this fascination and respect for hand-wrought precious metals and gems that Nurit and I share at Aharoni Jewellery will transfer to those who walk through our door...