Pearl Paradise CEO on CNBC Treasure Detectives

Our CEO was a featured expert on the new CNBC series Treasure Detectives last night! In case you missed it, tune in to one of the daily reruns this week on CNBC.

Jeremy was asked by the investigators to examine the mother-of-pearl inlay on a Les Paul custom guitar to determine whether it matched the inlay in a photo of Les Paul holding the guitar. While the mother-of-pearl did indeed match, the episode certainly had a surprising and somewhat explosive ending!


New Golden South Sea strands

Golden South Sea Baroque PearlsA couple of weeks ago, our CEO mentioned in a blog post that he had purchased one lot of golden South Sea baroque strands from a producer attending the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show. We’ve just finished photographing them and adding them to the baroque golden South Sea section of our site!

We are pretty excited about this new batch of golden pearls. Not only do they have great color and luster, several of them are truly free-form shape baroques. This is the first time we’ve carried them, as the lots we usually bring in are either drops or circled baroques.

Also, we brought back a loose lot of golden drop pearls, so our popular Blossom Collection Golden South Sea Earrings are finally back in stock!


Pearls Just Wanna Have Fun

Pearls necklaces worn down the back.Some days we just try to have a little fun here;) We were shooting some model shots featuring our favorite model Loree for editorial, and decided to do a few “fun” shots too!

Who says there is only one way to wear pearls?! We think this could actually work:)

Loree is wearing five strands of 8 mm, white freshwater pearls in different, staggered lengths.

Oh yeah, pearls just wanna have fun, and we love having fun with our pearls!

Five Strand Pearl Necklace

Hong Kong Jewelry Show 2013

The Hong Kong Exhibition Center in Wanchai

We’ve just returned from one of our largest buying trips of the year, the March jewelry show in Hong Kong. This is always an important trip because much of our inventory is depleted during the back-to-back Christmas and Valentine’s Day shopping seasons.

Hisano and I landed in Hong Kong at 9 am local time on Tuesday, and arrived at the Wanchai Exhibition Center at 11 am. The show lasts only five days and every day is important, so like usual, we set out as soon as we landed. That evening, and every evening that followed, we had dinners with friends and suppliers – four nights in all. Saturday, as soon as the show finished, we were back on an airplane headed to Los Angeles. It was exhausting, to say the least, but equally rewarding!

We had a lot of ground to cover in five days, and a lot of items on the shopping list. My job was to find the difficult lots that were needed to plug holes in our inventory, while Hisano spent more time finding new and special pearls. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous, but she does have the eye for it and my buying strengths are negotiating and name recognition.

Below is a breakdown of some of what we came home with this week.

Tahitian Pearls

In January, 2011, we had the opportunity to purchase the entire stock of AAA rounds from a large trader in Tahiti at a good discount. Because we were battling the rise in the Euro at the time and Tahitian pearl prices were starting to go up, it made sense. We still have thousands of loose rounds left over, but we were starting to run low on 8-9 mm and dark peacock in nearly every size.

This situation created a problem for us on two fronts; most Tahitian pearl lots come in sized lots of 8-10 mm and purchasing separated dark-peacock Tahitian lots can be very expensive. Furthermore, 8 mm Tahitians have become somewhat scarce over the past year, so most 8-10 mm lots contain very few 8-9 mm pearls.

Over the course of the week, I met with three different producers (including Alexander Collins from Takaroa where our Tahitian pearl documentary was filmed) and one trader, and was able to negotiate deals on six different Tahitian pearl lots. One was a dark, mixed lot of 8-9 mm, and the others were all dark peacock lots of varying sizes – exactly what we needed.

A selection of the 10-11 mm Peacock rounds that we brought back from the show.

Hisano and I also met with Chi Hyun of Galatea to examine (and ultimately purchase) his new line of hand-carved Tahitian pearls. Unlike the “carved” Tahitian pearls we’ve seen in the past out of Tahiti, Chi’s pearls are genuinely carved and not simply etched. Stay tuned for this collection!

South Sea Pearls

In the South Sea genre we went all out. We had every size of white rounds on our list, and purchased lots ranging in size from 9 to 17 mm, most from a single producer. We had good luck with golden South Sea as well, purchasing round lots ranging from 9 to 12 mm, a nice lot of drops and baroques, and even one lot of free form baroque and circled unfinished strands – something we rarely do, but as you can see from the previous link, our stock is low. We were so happy with what we found, we should be well stocked through the entire year!

Akoya Pearls

We didn’t have much on the list for akoya this trip, and what was on the list was in short supply. We needed to find some nice lots of 6-6.5 mm and 6.5-7 mm, but very few were to be had. In the end, we only returned with around 150 strands of akoya.

Freshwater Pearls

As usual, this is where Hisano and I had the most fun. While I spent nearly two full days separating out loose pearls for our freshadama and metallic white lines, Hisano visited at least a half dozen producers and processors looking for those special, must-see-to-believe pearls. I can’t go into too much detail and spoil upcoming surprises, but some of her finds included; giant black Edisons, some of the largest baroques I’ve ever seen, metallic fireball pairs, green-golds and even large, drop-shape metallic whites. This is going to be fun!

We did spend the last afternoon of the show getting in a bit of eye candy and visiting some of the well-known natural pearl dealers like Shanghai Gems and Tara and Sons. The conch, melo melo and other exotic naturals were amazing.

The Matryoshka Cortez Pearl Necklace

About five years ago, Pearl Paradise began hosting the Ruckus, an annual weekend event every summer when pearl farmers, vendors and enthusiasts come together from all over the world to celebrate all things pearl. The first two parties were held in the PP office.  The staff turned the entire office into a party room bringing in furniture, décor, caterers and servers to welcome the pearl guests.  The second Ruckus was Japan themed and we brought in a Sushi chef, served sake and traditional sweets. I even taught myself how to wear a kimono for the evening.

Pearl Paradise team before the party

The night of the second annual party, Jeremy bought an extraordinary pearl.  The pearl was purchased from Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm.  The Sea of Cortez pearl farm is located in Guaymas, Mexico, on the eastern side of Baja, California. The Cortez pearl farm is the only pearl farm in Central America. This small farm produces only 4,000 loose pearls per year. The pearls are cultivated in Rainbow lipped mollusk (Pteria sterna), which produces an array of pearl colors including: silver, golden-bronze, olive-green and deep violet with exotic overtones of green, pink and blue. The operation of the farm is small in scale but the pearls that are produced are very high in quality.

During the party people were crowding in the photo studio. Everyone was oohing and aahing over a single pearl that Douglas was holding.  This pearl had the richest violet-pink body color with green overtone with beautifully symmetrical shape. Douglas had named the pearl “Matryoshka” because the shape of the pearl reminded him of the Russian dolls.

Douglas McLaurin and The Matryoshka Pearl from Sea of Cortez

When Jeremy saw the pearl he purchased it that night.

Jeremy gave this special pearl to me and it took me two years to come up with a design. I knew that I wanted to keep the theme around Matryoshka. Within the two years I launched my silhouette collection and one day realized that incorporating the idea of silhouettes and the Matryoshka pearl were the perfect way to design. I sketched out my design, met up with my good friend and PearlParadise’s custom jeweler, Takayas Mizuno to realize my sketch into CAD design. I sourced out the colored stones that mimicked the rich body colors and overtones of the pearl at Hong Kong show. After months of refining the design the Matryoshka was completed. Taking the silhouette of the pearl as an outline of the links for the chain, the links becomes smaller and smaller just like the Russian dolls. The pearl is framed with colorful sapphire stones with each stone reflecting the colors of the pearl. The links are made of 22 karat yellow gold and the clasp was custom made by Takayas in 18 karat gold. The length is 15.5 inches. We were able to have the necklace done in time to show Enrique and Douglas from Sea of Cortez and the Pearl Guiders at the Tucson gem show. Douglas, the “Father of Pearl” was unable to see the finished piece in person but was very pleased with the outcome. This was by far the most sophisticated pearl design challenge I’ve ever attempted.