“Tsunami” (2011) by Yasuyoshi Chiba | click to enlarge

On April 18, 2011 – roughly 1 month after the coast of Japan was ravaged by a tsunami that swept inland over an area of some 500 square kilometers – Japanese photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba snapped the above photograph. The harsh winter had come and gone. Spring had arrived. And the cherry blossoms, in all their ephemeral beauty, were blossoming as if to say, “we are still alive.”

The photo not only went on to win an award, but it also inspired a line of Jewelry. Japanese designer Masayuki Kurokawa’s (see here) brand of art jewelry O-Jewel (note the distinction between jewelry and art jewelry) challenged their designers to create an original piece based on that photograph. The results were unveiled last week at Art Fair Tokyo.

Below we present you with a few of our favorite picks, as well as selected commentary from the artists. Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy O-Jewel.

Sakura brooch by Yu-Chun Chen; recycled copper, recycled plastic, steel wire

Here’s what the artist had to say about the work:

The brooch is made from recycled copper water pipes and recycled shampoo bottle plastic. The materials represent  the destruction of households under the earthquake. The act of re-using them is symbolic in that it shows that, from a disaster, something hopeful, poetic and beautiful could be re-born.

Sakura pendant by Mari Ishikawa; silver.

Pin by Jun Konishi; plastic

Sakura earings by Annelies Planteydt; gold, titanium and silicone. Photo by Jean Beining

Pendant by Karin Seufert; pvc

Here’s what the artist had to say about the work:

By thinking about Sakura I can see all these beautiful fragile petals in delicate and elegant colors. They are smooth and tiny and you want to carry them with you after they have been fallen from the tree. The two petals I made shall work like a reminiscence of this special and typical time in Japan. The white one is build up by only dots and you can feel the fragility of a petal by touching it while the pink one is like a leave you’ve placed between the pages of a book where it gets hard and dry.

Earcuff by imago/Mariko Yamashita; rose quartz, pink pearls