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KYOCERA’s “Kyoto Opal” Utilized in Decorative Design of Protective Film Screen Covers for iPhone 5s/5c/5

Marking its 5th anniversary, the synthetic material enriches a variety of items from Japanese gift items to musical instruments, hair cutting scissors and necklaces

December 3, 2013
Kyocera Corporation (President: Goro Yamaguchi) announced that the company’s unique “Kyoto Opal” material is being utilized in protective film screen covers for the iPhone 5s/5c/5. The covers, featuring sparkling characteristics similar to natural opal, recently went on sale in Tokyo and will also be available in the U.S. through the maker’s Web site starting December 5 (Power Support International

With Screen On RED GREEN
Kyocera’s Kyoto Opal used in iPhone screen covers:
with screen on (left), Red (middle), Green (right)

The film cover is made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin with thinly sliced Kyoto Opal mixed in for decorative properties. The extremely fine grain structure of the Kyoto Opal makes it so that when the display is on, the opal material has a very transparent quality and does not interfere with the screen display or operations. When the screen is off, the opal material shines brilliantly in different colors depending on the angle it is viewed from. Because this characteristic makes it difficult to see the screen from side angles, the cover film can also help ensure user privacy from nearby onlookers.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of “Kyoto Opal,” which is being used in an ever-widening range of products. In July, official souvenir items utilizing Kyoto Opal were released at the newly rebuilt Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo. The Kabuki-za is the premier theater for Japan’s centuries-old performance art. Souvenirs include chopsticks and loupes with cultural designs of Kabuki face painting, in which Kyoto Opal is inlayed to accent the Japanese aesthetic.

Kyoto Opal chips inlayed in souvenir chopsticks sold at the Kabuki-za
Kyoto Opal chips inlayed in souvenir chopsticks sold at the Kabuki-za

In addition to Japanese gift items, the special aesthetic qualities of Kyoto Opal also make it a beautiful option for musical instruments. Last year, the decorative material was adopted in ornamental designs for flutes. Furthermore, it is being utilized for blue-colored rose adornments on high-end ukuleles sold in Japan and Europe. Other recent applications include professional hair cutting scissors, in which circular-cut Kyoto Opal pieces are embedded in the screw joint, as well as a new series of magnetic necklaces which are designed to improve blood circulation ― both only available in Japan.

Kyoto Opal adopted in flute ukulele ornaments
Kyoto Opal adopted in flute (left) and ukulele ornaments (right)

Kyoto Opal adopted in hair cutting scissors magnetic necklace ornaments
Kyoto Opal adopted in hair cutting scissors (left) and magnetic necklace ornaments (right)

The wide use of Kyoto Opal stems from its unique aesthetic features. Utilizing special staining techniques, Kyocera has been able to realize a variety of rich and subtle hues and tints, which cannot be duplicated with molded resin-based opal products. Furthermore, by surmounting the inherently brittle characteristics of naturally occurring opals, which tend to split and crack, it is possible to cut the material into diverse shapes and sizes.

Kyocera, founded as a producer of fine ceramic components, started developing recrystallized gemstones in 1970. In addition to synthetic opals, its jewelry business includes recrystallized emeralds, blue sapphires and rubies, which are cultivated under carefully controlled conditions by applying fine ceramic crystallizing technology.

Kyocera has been providing opal gemstones in markets outside Japan since 1992 as accessories, and launched the “Kyoto Opal” brand in 2008 for expansion in the Japanese market as a unique decorative material. The company decided on the name in part because the material was created in Kyoto, Japan, as well as to familiarize people around the world with the opal by associating it with the internationally known, historically rich city.

“iPhone” is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries