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Japanese Designer Sells Pearl Face Masks for $9,350

It looks great, but it can’t protect you from the virus.

Ann Moises

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  • Rieko Kawanishi creates luxurious face masks using 310 real Akoya pearls.
  • The Japanese designer from Tokyo decided to create a “fun mask” due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • It costs $9,350 or 1 million yen.

In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, numerous governments have mandated people to wear face masks. Since then, various designs have appeared in the market worldwide.

It has become more than just a means of protection against the virus. Nowadays, face masks go beyond the disposable, medical grade types. There are also simple, washable fabrics available in various designs and colors to match our wardrobe.

Furthermore, some consumers are looking for upgrades– something other than the ordonary masks we see in stores. Fortunately, companies and designers are more than ready and willing to answer these demands. This motivated a Japanese designer from Tokyo to create a mask made of expensive pearls.

Rieko Kawanishi creates face masks using real Akoya pearls.
Photo : Noriko Hayashi / The New York Times

After the pandemic, there were so many more places where, for the first time, you absolutely had to wear a mask,” said Ms Kawanishi. “I just thought, I want to make something elegant.”

However, she admits that her design is not the most effective defense against Covid-19. “It’s full of holes!,” she said.
Photo : Noriko Hayashi
The designer recommends wearing the pearl-laden, handmade face covering over a regular face mask.

Their company has been making accessories for over three decades. But when the pandemic started, she said she wanted to sew “fun” into the serious task of fighting the virus.

It takes Ms. Kawanishi three days to create the exquisite face covering. She uses about 310 pieces of Akoya pearls in four different sizes. These masks are on display at her workshop in Tokyo and can be purchased for $9,350 or 1 million yen.

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