New Kid on the Block: Kataoka

In 2011, after 25 years of designing jewelry, Yoshinobu Kataoka founded his own company, Kataoka, and opened a 600-square-foot Tokyo store. Now he has chosen Tribeca for a second outpost, and while the former Gary Graham boutique on Franklin Street is larger, there’s not much more in the way of merchandise. The store is extremely spare, with a only half dozen vitrines. The idea, says chief operating officer Anis Boudraa, is to be more of a museum or gallery. The exposed flaws in the brick wall and facade glass have been left as elements of wabi-sabi, and the store is also a model of discretion, with plants blocking the front window and no signage, at least for now.

All the better to emphasize the jewelry, which is handmade to order in Japan, with a four-to-six-week lead time. “You can’t walk out of here with anything,” says Boudraa. “A man came in recently and wanted to buy a $5,000 ring. It was clearly an impulse purchase, so I told him, ‘Why don’t you sleep on it?’ He came back a couple of days later and said, ‘Now I really want it.'”

That’s in line with the brand’s general ethos. “This is a luxury and we know that,” says Boudraa. “We try to be respectful to society, and we want to give back.” Kataoka only uses recycled gold from the semiconductor industry in Japan, blending its own rose and beige gold for increased subtlety. “We try to avoid newly mined metals and use ethically, sustainably sourced gemstones. We don’t work with diamonds from Africa.” The company is also starting a foundation to help those who can’t afford higher education.

Most of the business is rings, but there are also necklaces, bracelets, earrings, objets d’art (including a marvelous hand-shaped incense holder and a pretty little bonsai), and a custom Blaise Mautin scented candle. “You don’t have to wait four weeks for the candle!” says Boudraa.

Kataoka is at 176 Franklin (between Hudson and Greenwich); 212-966-9005; Jewelry photos courtesy Kataoka.

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  1. The only jewelery I’ve ever bought – an engagement ring and wedding bands – was this year from Kataoka. Kataoka is a true artist/artisan. They also have excellent customer service. Tribeca is very lucky to have Kataoka’s only shop outside of the one in Tokyo (which I’ve visited). It’s a perfect fit for the neighborhood.

  2. They have truly exquisite items. This is a tremendous win for the neighborhood. I love it!