I had recently made an engagement ring for a lovely couple with whom I'm fortunate to now be friends; and while I loved creating that piece our initial consults had in fact begun with a discussion of their wedding rings. Because both of them are part Japanese, we wanted to incorporate elements of their culture and family histories into the ring including the bride's three-ginkgo mon and the groom's family's ancient heritage of living and working on the water.
With the caveat that of course Japanese and Chinese peoples/cultures/histories are not the same (although they are entwined), we continued to use as our theme a Chinese saying that we'd used to guide the design of the engagement ring: 桃花流水 (táohuāliúshuǐ), or "peach blossoms flowing along with the water," which suggests a couple going through the journey of life together without losing their individuality in the union.
Whereas in the engagement ring we used three gingko leaves rising up off the water as the setting for a solitaire pink sapphire, here the motif was broken apart into three sets of three ginkgo leaves actually flowing along the shanks of each ring to more closely represent the message of the saying. While his palladium ring has a very organic representation of flowing water on which the ginkgo leaves float, her rose gold ring is more stylized. One of the surnames in the groom's family lineage means "little stream," and the smooth lines that represent water on the bride's ring are actually the ancient representation of the character 川 (kawa in Japanese), which means "stream" or "river"—a true depiction of the couple and their families uniting and flowing along in harmony.