The Secret Life of Pearls – Set your DVRs!

Tonight on NatGeo at 10 pm, The Secret Life of Pearls will air!

You can find details here.

I’ve personally had the honor of visiting the Paspaley pearling operation deep in the outback of Australia and I treasure the experience. While it was many years ago, it’s one I will always remember.

If you would like to see where some of the world’s rarest pearls are grown and where white South Sea pearls originate from and how they are farmed, you won’t want to miss this!

A single Australian South Sea pearl

Australian Outback

Pinctada maxima, the South Sea pearl oyster

A few interesting pearl finds in Hong Kong

Sorry I’m late!

Hong Kong was fantastic once again and it really is starting to feel like a second home. I love Hong Kong in March because the weather is so perfectly mild. Contrast March with the Fall show and it’s like a spring day in the park vs a sauna set on high!

We were fortunate enough to find several things on wish lists and of course our staples, and also a few things that just sort jumped out at us.

Like these akoya!

Baroque Blue Akoya Pearls

I have to say, I don’t really know what to think of these. But I’d never seen akoya that looked like this before, so home they came. Hisano didn’t give me too much of a hard time because there were only three strands.

Just as a quick reminder, this is what most akoya pearls look like ;)

A sea of perfect akoya pearls

If you follow our Official Instagram Page, which Hisano and I personally upload photos to, you might have been privy to these monsters!

Huge Baroque freshwater pearls

That caliper doesn’t read 6.5 mm, by the way. It’s 16.5 mm. They are HUGE and they are going to be featured in our regular newsletter tomorrow. We only brought 23 strands home to test them out. They are some serious Wilmas.

Finally came the Tahitian, and yes I know Hisano posted a photo of it last month. But I fell in love with this strand the moment I saw it. Some of Pearl-Guide Ruckus friends know that I’ve got a small collection of football-shape pearls with the intention of someday matching enough to make a perfect strand and then this one comes along. The colors, the shape, the surface … it was one that really caught my attention. I typically have the strongest affinity for dark peacocks, which we get almost exclusively from Rikitea, Mangareva, but these are really something (so I am posting the photo again :) )

Strand of Tahitian pearls

The strand does now have a home, and I’ll have to say we got more emails about this strand than probably any other we’ve posted on this blog, and I’m thrilled that it went home with a friend of ours who will be attending the Ruckus. We get to meet this strand again!

 

Hong Kong Pearl Buying Trip Wish List Hunting – March, 2016

As usual, we hit the ground running looking for our staple items. The first day of the show reminds of those scenes we see every year on Black Friday – huge crowds rushing into the venue to shop.

The Japanese Akoyas were still very high in demand especially in the Asian market and we had to push our way through the Japan Pavilion to search for the smaller Akoya strands.

By now I have gotten used to squeezing myself between small pockets of space I find between people to get closer to the pearls and firmly tell other buyers to wait until I am done selecting when I see someone’s hand reaching over to my “keep” pile.

Since the March buying trip is a smaller buy for us we were able to take the time to look for the wish list items.
We had a lot of requests on 11-12 mm pairs of white Edisons. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything in that size that were lustrous and round enough to bring home.
But I was able to find a  lustrous silver overtone 14-15 mm pair.

14-15 mm white Edison pair with silver overtone

14-15 mm white Edison pair with silver overtone

I found one metallic round 11-12 mm Edison pearl. I couldn’t find a match but brought it back anyway because it’s amazing!

11 mm metallic Edison

11 mm metallic Edison

We were also on a search for metallic drops. We got few pairs but while I was going through the pile of drops I found this perfect oval shaped pair. It’s not metallic but it’s rare to see such pleasing shape… that matches!

Perfect drop pair

Perfect 9-10 mm drop pair

We had a request from a customer who lost half a pair of her metallic studs. After going through a large box full of metallic pearls we found a match! It was quite literally the only pearl like it in the box. It made us happy that the new pair can be enjoyed once again.

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Pairing colorful Freshwater drops are way more fun than pairing black and white Akoyas.

Metallic drop pairs

Metallic drop pairs

Sometimes our wishlist hunt can take years. I received a request from a special client and friend to look for a perfect drop shaped white south sea pair. I searched and searched for two and  a half years and finally met the right pair! Perfectly paired perfect drops are incredibly difficult to find.

Our photographer getting creative with the drop pair photo!

Our photographer getting creative with the drop pair photo!

We haven’t decided on the setting but it is very exciting to finally find a pair.

There was also a rather unusual request on a wish list. A client was looking for golden south sea heart shaped pearls. When Jeremy and I actually found them we were pleasantly surprised. Not only do they exists, they are actually quite beautiful. I am not a fan of heart-shaped jewelry but this golden south sea heart had the right curves, plump body and a beautiful deep golden color.

We learned that there is one special farm in Indonesia that cultures these hearts and they only grow 200 pearls per year.

Golden Heart Pearl

Golden Heart Pearl

Jeremy found a strand that made his heart sing. It was toward the end of the show when one of our vendors was showing us some white south sea baroque strands when this unique Tahitian strand caught his eye. The strand has the most subtle pastel assortment of colors with fiery, intense overtones. The size range is 10-11.9 mm.

He almost put it back but I convinced him that sometimes we need to get something that we fall in love with. He agreed. He really loves Tahitian pearls and this strand truly is special.

Unique Tahitian drop strand

Unique Tahitian oval strand

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There was something that I fell in love too. I found a small bundle of tiny Tahitian keshi strands. Although small, the strands stood out with their dark green body color and how smooth the shapes were.

The size start at 3 mm and up to 5.5 mm. The vendor said it was a labor of love and he enjoyed creating the strands.
I selected a strand for myself and one for someone special who also has an affinity towards tiny pearls like I do.

Delicious tiny Tahitian keshi strand

Delicious tiny Tahitian keshi strand

We’re also going to be introducing a new pearl for Mother’s day. Stay tuned for our email newsletter and upcoming blogs for the BIG reveal!

We are headed back to Hong Kong

It’s time once again for the big March Hong Kong jewelry show and Hisano and I are heading out this weekend! We will be surrounded by millions upon millions of pearls and will be meeting with dozens of producers and processors from all over the world.

As usual, if anyone has a special request, please feel free to email either myself (Jeremy@) or Hisano.

Metallic souffle freshwater pearls

loose grade pearls used to make freshadama

Congratulations JulieBeth – You’re Going to Fiji!

Yesterday we held the anticipated final Fiji raffle. Congratulations Pearl-Guide member JulieBeth!

Julie has been a member of Pearl-Guide’s community forum since March of 2013. She loves and designs with pearls. Some of her work can be seen here on Etsy.

We shot a video of the drawing and there is a surprise at the end!

Who wants to take the next Pearl Trip of a Lifetime to … ??? :)