Pearl-Guide Ruckus 2014

The Pearl Guide Ruckus, 2014

We were so honored again this year to play host for the fifth year in a row to dozens of our “Pearl” friends from around the world. For a long, three-day weekend, we participated in pearl discussions, talks, a pearl-laden party (the RUCKUS!) and of course pearl shopping!

This year, the festivities were held at an estate in Palos Verdes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The weather was fantastic; morning haze for perfect diffused natural light to appreciate the true beauty of pearls, and sunny afternoons, which brought paradise-like sunsets.

For our friends that couldn’t make it this year, we have something special coming up! We decided to film all the talks, the discussion and  pearl-friend interviews! We are busy with the editing now and the first video, a talk given by Mr. Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Mexico, will be posted this week.

Since we have videos coming, I’ve decided to skip posting a full overview here, and instead share links to forum threads started my our friends who attended and a collection of photos posted on Facebook!

Wendy and Cynde’s account – A Weekend Spent in Paradise at the 2014 Ruckus

How I Found My Ruckus Pearls, by Pricescope’s FlyGirl, and a second thread of Ruckus Neck Shots (what a brilliant idea!)

BSomlo’s My 2014 Ruckus Experience

A finally, a thread dedicated to Hisano’s little h Pearl Geode and Finestrino line, which debuted the evening of the Ruckus.

What to do with a 55 mm pearl — challenge accepted!

A monster of a pearlAbout a year and a half ago, Hisano and I brought back a truly giant, baroque pearl from Asia. It measured a whopping 55 mm in length and 35 mm in width. The shape was very interesting as well. It looked to some like the beginnings of a wooly mammoth, others saw clouds. To me it looked like the potential for something big and something special. It just needed an artist with a vision to create something amazing.

In a blog post back in June of 2013, we asked the question, “what to do with a 55 mm pearl?” I am thankful to say that a dear friend of mine and long-time member of the Pearl-Guide community answered that question.

Sheri Jurnecka of Junecka Creations loves big pearls. She also has a special affinity toward octupi, and likes to use giant single pearls as bulbous heads.

A Jurnecka Creation

A Jurnecka Creation

Sheri spent quite a while thinking about the different possibilities for such a pearl. She sketched several different options before having a moment of realization. This giant behemouth of a pearl looked strikingly similar to the body of a leafy sea dragon!

Leafy Sea Dragon, courtesy of Wikipedia

Leafy Sea Dragon, courtesy of Wikipedia

The leafy sea dragon is native to the southern part of Australia and is aptly named due to its uncanny resemblance to a dragon. But unlike its fire-breathing mythical cousin, this dragon grows only around 20 centimeters in length and lives underwater. Sheri used this creature as a source of inspiration to create a stunning piece of art.

At the Pearl-Guide ruckus two weekends ago (another blog post will be coming on that in the not-too-distant future), Sheri unveiled her answer to the challenge — what to do with a 55 mm pearl.

Sheri and her leafy sea dragon

Leafy_Sea dragon close

A few special pieces will be debuting next week!

As those of you on our email list know, we’ve been adding new pieces to our mid-year clearance page every Tuesday this month (and most things are snapped up by mid-afternoon). Well next week we’ve got a few new things that we’re extra excited about – round, metallic-white freshwater strands!

If a strand of those mirrored white orbs have been on your list, keep an eye on the sale page on Tuesday morning! The strands are all long (think 35 inches and longer) and truly special!

white metallic long strand

We chose a special new style of clasp for one of the upcoming options!

We chose a special new style of clasp for one of the upcoming options!

Hong Kong, June 2014: My favorite finds

We had another whirlwind trip to Asia. The show layout looked very different this time. Our regular vendors had a lot smaller spaces but seemed to be busier with visitors crammed in tight booth spaces.

Jeremy and I had the pleasure of having Elia with us this time. Since it was her first time at the show, she had to wait in the winding long line to get her badge. While she waited Jeremy and I visited a couple of Tahitian pearl producers exhibiting and got several loose lots. Our small size Tahitians (8-9 and 9-10 mm) are always in demand and we were happy to find the right colors and quality to replenish our stock.

As we searched for other pearls, we came across a bundle of blue baroque Japanese Akoya strands and they were big – over 11 mm! We’d never seen this size baroque strands before so we were very lucky to find these few strands almost buried with loose South Sea lots.

Large Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Large Blue Baroque Akoya strands

I stopped by the Vietnamese Akoya pearl farmer’s booth to say hello and they were delighted to hear our successful June Monthly Special featuring their pearls. The farmer has brought the rest of the blue Akoyas that he had kept in his vault for the last six years. The price on these strands were at a premium so I decided to take two strands that had the best color and the luster for our upcoming September Conoisseur sale.

Premium Vietnamese Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Premium Vietnamese Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Right before the show started one of our regular Akoya suppliers stopped by our office and offered us a few natural-color, madama akoya strands. It’s so rare we get see any true madama-grade strands so we took them all and immediately sent them to Japan for certification. They just came back from Japan and we’re happy to have them in stock again. We’ll be listing them soon.

Madama strand

Madama strand

While Elia searched for mid-year-sale worthy pearls, I looked for special pearls for our Conoisseur sale. The Conoisseur sale is the one special time where we can let our creativity fly. There’s always some special pearls that captivate us that can’t be categorized as a regular color, overtone or shape. Here are some of those special pearls:

Slight off round Edison pearls

Slightly off round Edison pearls

When Jeremy and I saw a loose lot of perfectly round, GIANT Edisons, we  thought long and hard whether to get them or not. After few negotiations Jeremy decided to take two out of the four I selected.

Super Lustrous 15-16 mm Edison Pearls

Super Lustrous 15-16 mm Edison Pearls

We’ve also had some requests for large Fireballs.

White Fireballs

White Fireballs

Natural Color Fireballs

Natural Color Fireballs

We also had some requests to look for the Edison drop pearl with a “oil-slick” orient like the pearl Jeremy found for me last March.

OIl Slick Orient Edison Pearl

Oil Slick Orient Edison Pearl

We are now well stocked for the summer and excited to let our creativity burst!

My Trip to the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Elia and Hisano at the Hong Kong Jewelry Show

Elia and Hisano selecting pearls

I was very excited to go to Asia for the first time, and especially excited since the trip involved being let loose in a convention center full of millions of gems! I had imagined what it would be like, but this is something that you can’t quite picture in your head; you have to experience it. My first day there, the climate was exquisite. Some people thought it was too hot and humid, but I love tropical weather.

Jeremy, Hisano and I headed over to the show bright and early (which for me is 10 am.) There were people there from all over the world waiting to get in. I had pre-registered for the event, and even then, I had to wait in line for a whole hour to finally get my official badge! I’ve waited less to get on rollercoasters. Anyway, it was worth it. I mention this so you get an idea of the scope of this show.

Once inside, it was on! So many pearls, so little time! We scoured the place over the course of 4 days in order to buy the best South Sea, Tahitian, Akoya and Freshwater pearls on the market. It was great for me to meet many of our suppliers in person, and get to know them better. I really admire that Jeremy and Hisano speak Japanese (and Jeremy even some Mandarin) as this truly makes a difference in the international marketplace. Everybody speaks English, of course, but speaking the other person’s native tongue helps establish a deeper connection.

Elia and Hisano selecting ripple strands and AAA freshwater

Elia and Hisano selecting ripple strands and AAA freshwater

A few things that I realized at the show: Ripple Freshwater pearls are all the rage! They are still pretty rare, but they are only getting bigger and better. Same goes for Soufflé pearls – some of the metallic colors were stunning! And Edison pearls (bead-nucleated Freshwaters) are getting bigger and better, too. We saw some that rivaled the most lustrous South Seas, at a whopping 17mm or so. We hardly could tell them apart! As the farms become able to produce these higher-quality, larger freshwater pearls, the prices go up as well. The label ‘Freshwater’ does not mean that a pearl will be at the lower end of the price spectrum anymore!

A single, top-luster white freshwater and a South Sea strand

A single, top-luster white freshwater and a South Sea strand

Also, I realized how rare Blue Akoyas are! I used to think they were ubiquitous…Not so! Among the hundreds of vendors, I only saw two that were carrying them, and even then, they did not have many and none were loose and undrilled. I made a mental note to hype up the Blue Akoyas when I returned, because they really are rare and I wanted our customers to know, based on my experience.

Hisano and I did a lot of the choosing and cherry-picking, and then Jeremy would come in and handle the negotiations. He knows exactly how much every item needs to be in order for us to be able to list them at the discounted prices we offer at Pearl Paradise. I learned a lot just from watching him, but there is no way I could ever do this by myself! He does have years of experience, but also, I got the sense that the jewelry world is still kind of a man’s world (ironically?)

Before we left, I made sure to check out the Vintage Jewelry pavilion, because, when else would I get a chance to see one-of-a-kind special heirlooms like those? They were amazing! The prices were prohibitive (to someone like me), but they were the real deal (with tattered jewelry boxes from the early 1900s to prove it.) I did get some design ideas by looking at these, though.

Now that I am back I am getting ready for our July 1st Semi-Annual Clearance Sale, which will feature many one-of-a-kind items, as well as select styles at up to 80% off! I won’t spoil the surprise, but, I will say that there are some Ripples, Edisons, Soufflés, and Blue Akoyas, as well as vintage-inspired items.

Blue Vietnamese baroque akoya pearls

Blue Vietnamese baroque akoya pearls