I was approached by a couple who wanted engagement and wedding rings that incorporated their Japanese heritiage. The bride wanted to incorporate her mon into the design, which is three ginkgo leaves arranged radially; and while the groom's family crest has been obscured by history, we know that one surname in his lineage means "little river" and that they were from a fishing village. Since we didn't have iconography for him, we decided to incorporate water imagery into the design to represent his family.
While I realize that the Japanese and Chinese peoples/cultures/histories are not the same (although they are entwined), the componets that we had thus far reminded me of a Chinese saying that I'd used in jewelry before: 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. Being that this couple both have strong identities, they loved it and we decided to use it as the theme for all three rings, substituting ginkgo leaves for peach blossoms.
Here, the motif manifests itself with a wavy, watery 14k rose gold band and a setting of three ginko leaves, arrayed radially and overlapping each other slightly, rising up off the water to cup a 1.15 carat champagne sapphire. We decided to use organic ginkgo leaves for this ring rather than the graphically strong design from the bride's mon because they fit the design better. You can see the ginkgo leaves more clearly from the side, as well as how their stems are still flowing along with the water.