Resort Pearls

For the past few months, I’ve been eyeing everything orange; orange purses, orange clothes, orange accessories, etc. According to Feng Shui, the color orange represents departure, leadership, femininity and fertility, which was the perfect color-theme for the Hawaii trip we had planned with my parents right after the holiday season was over.

We took the Norewegian Cruise Line that departed from Oahu and stopped at Maui, Big Island and Kauai.  Since you get to dress up a lot on cruise ships I took a handful of my favorite pearls that would complement orange! My latest addition was of course my orange 18-19 mm Fireball earrings set on 14K yellow gold hooks.  Jeremy and I purchased a nice selection of Fireball pairs at the Hong Kong Jewelry show last September.  Jeremy stumbled on the same company where he bought the first giant black Edison Pearla at the show in the Spring. The manager of the booth noticed Jeremy talking to one of his biggest clients and decided to give us the highest-level discount from marked on everything we purchased.  Naturally I took advantage of it and started opening all the boxes that contained Fireballs. I started hand picking (normally you would need to buy the whole card even if there are pearls with flaws or poor matching) and this pair was one of the cherry picked ones we brought back.

Jeremy has a way of charming the pearl producers in China. They get a real kick out of this big white guy that negotiates in Mandarin.  The pair I picked for myself  has very warm orange-gold body color with excellent silver overtone. It’s not as metallic as the other pairs that we purchased but the earrings worked great with my orange beach bag with white sundress.  Most of the time I paired the earrings with my red coral branch pendant with turquoise flat faceted teardrop beads on 18K yellow gold chain that I made years ago.  I loved wearing them during the trip and saw my mom eyeing them the whole entire trip. I think I need to make a pair for her birthday or Mother’s day. Now I can’t wait for the summer.

Every Day Pearls

I’m a girl who truly loves pearls, and being a part of Pearl Paradise has given me the ultimate opportunity to express my own style with pearls, many of which I would never be able find anywhere else.

Tiny size akoya pearl strandThe pearls I wear every day are rarely seen on the website, and this is partly because most of the pearls I prefer are a lot smaller than the average size.  My number one go-to pearl necklace is my 36-inch white akoya pearl strand on 14K matte ball clasp. I love how my outfit instantly polishes up with this necklace.  The pearls are AA+/AAA quality silver to silver rose overtone 4.5-5 mm akoya pearls from Japan. I wear it as a double strand or one long strand. It’s easy to carry when I’m traveling and very useful when I am out on vacation or attending a Hong Kong jewelry show.

Knowing my weakness with tiny pearls, our Akoya vendors started bringing in smaller sizes whenever they visit our office. My recent acquisition of tiny Akoyas was a natural yellowish golden 2.5-3 mm strand. I am still pondering what to make with it.

My tiny collection is not only in Akoyas. A few years ago, Jeremy told a freshwater pearl supplier that I love tiny pearls. The supplier sent us lustrous 2-2.5 mm white freshwater pearl strands that had strong silver overtones. I’ve made them into multi-strand necklaces that range from 16 to 26 inches. I’ve also made a multi-strand bracelet adorned with white diamond beads.

Another long necklace that I love wearing is a 16.5 mm, White South Sea circled baroque pearl on a 14K rose gold chain accented with tiny akoya pearls. We recently purchased a large lot of giant White South Sea baroque loose pearls. The sizes ranged from 13 to 20 mm. We made pairs and pendants for a monthly special. As I was picking out the pairs for the sale I found this plump pearl with a small tip at the top. There was something charming about this pudgy pearl with warm silky white body color with hint of rose overtone. I started to gather rose gold chain and findings along with rose tone akoya pearls that were left over from my wedding necklace. I randomly wire wrapped the 3-4 mm akoya pearls on the chain to make a 30 inch necklace. I took this design when I was working on the black Freshwater Edison pearls. I made a sterling silver version of my necklace accenting with small black Freshwater pearls.

This wasn’t the only time my own jewelry became a PP item. I found an amazing pistachio color Tahitian baroque pearl once sorting through a newly acquired lot. I had to make something simple to showcase the amazing color. I wire wrapped it onto a delicate yellow gold chain and dangled a yellow diamond briolette bead right next to it. Jeremy loved the simple look and suggested for a new item on PP. Since pistachio colors in Tahitians are rare I took smooth drop shape peacock tone and adorned the bale with a black briolette diamond. The Noir pendant is now a staple item on our Tahitian baroque page.

Pistachio Color Tahitian pearl with diamond briolette

Pearl Promise Ring

Pearl Promise Ring

This pearl ring has quite a story. Jeremy purchased some loose freshwater pearls during one of his visits to China. He had never seen such a strong metallic luster with color-shifting overtones before.

He took the pearls to Guaymas, Mexico to show them to Pearl-Guide members; Caitlin, Blaire and Douglas. He left for Mexico few days earlier than I and by the time I arrived the lot was gone. We searched the hotel room but no luck – someone had stolen the bag of pearls. Caitlin and Blaire were heart broken. They had each picked a pearl for themselves but selected the most amazing color shifting metallic pearl for me, telling Jeremy that he was not allowed to give that pearl away to anyone but me.

We went home few days after empty handed. But a few weeks later, Douglas who runs the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guaymas, contacted Jeremy. He got a bag full of pearls that looked exactly like the lot that was lost from a girl who claimed that a American gave them at the hotel where she worked. Knowing what really happened, Douglas took the pearls back from her. I was finally able to meet the special pearl.

The pearl is oval with perfectly smooth surface and the most amazing part about this pearl is the shifting of the colors. In a dimly lit room, the pearl looks gold. In a natural light it is actually pink to green. The luster is so sharp that you can see your reflection on the pearl.

A couple of months later, Jeremy and I were off on vacation and had an eight hour layover in Paris on our way to Istanbul. Jeremy took me to the Eiffel tower.  It was a sizzling hot summer day with no air conditioner in the subway and huge line of tourists waiting for the elevator to go to the top of the tower. We didn’t have a whole lot of time and started climbing the stairs. We were both drenched with sweat when we got midway when we finally took the elevator to the top.

As I watched the breath taking view of Paris, he took the ring out from his pocket and placed the ring on my finger.  It was such a romantic moment and I was so surprised by the ring.  I later found out that my very good friend and our custom jeweler Takayas Mizuno created the ring for us.  Now this pearl ring accompanies everywhere I travel.

Pearl Promise Ring

This is a photo taken by my good friend Blaire Beavers.

Pearls at our Tokyo Wedding

When Jeremy and I got engaged, we couldn’t decide where to get married. Jeremy wanted to have a traditional Shinto ceremony in Japan and I was dreaming of wearing a gown, decked out with pearls.

Since we are not residents of Japan we decided to go ahead and do both: a Japanese wedding that doesn’t legally count and an American wedding that actually binds us as husband and wife.

We decided our wedding would be held at a shrine in Tokyo in May, 2012. The date to wed is so important to the Japanese culture. There is a luck calendar that shows all the lucky and unlucky days to get married. When I started searching for locations and dates back in January of 2012, I quickly realized that all the lucky dates falling on weekends were booked. Since June is the rainy season and July/August are terribly humid and hot I was strongly advised not to wed during the summer. Fall was difficult to leave work, as we have an important pearl buying trip to Hong Kong in September, so we decided on May 22nd, a Tuesday. Tuesday was Tai An Day, which is the most blessed day for a wedding and we hoped that May would still be sunny and not too hot for a wedding.

We rented a “King” size (that’s how the gown rental place called it!) kimono for Jeremy which is called the Haori Hakama. I went with a white kimono with bright red outer gown with beautiful embroidery of cherry blossoms. I also decided to go for the traditional wig with pearls and amber hair ornaments.

There isn’t much accessorizing in Japanese formal wear, but I had to wear pearls on my wedding day, so we decided to change into a suit and dress for our reception dinner.  I wore an amazing vintage-inspired hair piece made by my dear friend Michelle. The hair piece made from ostrich feathers, crystals and 6.0-7.0 mm, round freshwater pearls. The feathers were a warm, off-white color that perfectly complemented the freshwater pearls.
To go with my strapless featherly short white dress, I wore a seven-strand akoya pearl choker on a 14K white gold diamond clasp. I thought Japanese akoya pearls were most appropriate to wear in Japan.  I have a huge affinity towards small-size pearls. I love the intimate and delicate size of the tiny pearls. The necklace graduated in size from 2.5 mm to 5.5 mm. These pearls were very difficult to get. We asked one of our most trusted akoya pearl vendors who called in all of his resources and found few strands that were actually set aside for Mikimoto.  The strands were AAA quality with subtle rose overtones. I enjoyed making the necklace despite the rush of getting ready to fly to Tokyo. To complete the look I wore a single-strand bracelet and pair of 8.5-9.0 mm akoya studs.

My passion is not only in pearls but also in felting wool. I have been felting wool since I went to grad school and it is a huge part of my identity as an artist. I wanted to find a way to incorporate the two materials together. I took the gold lip shell that was donated for the Pearl-Guide annual Ruckus Pearl Party from Jewelmer and covered the inner part of the shell with felted wool. I also sewed felted balls that mimicked the warm ivory tone of white south sea pearls and attached them together as a ring holder. Jeremy did not see his wedding band nor the ring holder until the wedding day.  His delighted smile was priceless.

I used a gold-lip South Sea shell covered with felt to create a pearl-inspired, felted ring holder.