Pearl Paradise photographer Angela goes to Hong Kong

Working with PearlParadise has always been a privilege, but a couple weeks ago, I was offered a life changing opportunity! Jeremy and Hisano asked me if I wanted to join them on the Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair buying trip!

After 16 hours of travel time, I arrived at the airport and went straight to the show! Here are some clips and images from my experience in Hong Kong.

I took a lot of footage, so make sure to check back later for informational videos from our trip!

The entrance to the September Hong Kong Jewellry & Gem Fair - You can see the excitement in my eyes!

The entrance to the September Hong Kong Jewellry & Gem Fair – You can see the excitement in my eyes!

Pearl Heaven

Pearl Heaven

Hollow pearls we call Souffle. The color range and luster on these pearls have changed the game when it comes to buying pearls by weight.

Hollow pearls we call Souffle. The color range and luster on these pearls have changed the game when it comes to buying pearls by weight.

Loose grade pearls with amazing luster ready to be matched into mini lots for freshadama strands!

Loose grade pearls with amazing luster ready to be matched into mini lots for freshadama strands!

Beautiful luster!

Beautiful luster!

Round, beaded pearls known to the trade as Edisons.

Round, beaded pearls known to the trade as Edisons.

Dim Sum dinner with Hisano and Jeremy!

Dim Sum dinner with Hisano and Jeremy!

A little ‘peak’ from my adventure on my day off in Hong Kong.

Breathless — at 志蓮淨苑 Chi Lin Nunnery.

Breathless — at 志蓮淨苑 Chi Lin Nunnery.

Good bye for now, Hong Kong — at The Peak, Hong Kong.

Good bye for now, Hong Kong — at The Peak, Hong Kong

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

The Best Kind of Gems

A new series with Allison M.

Pearls are not just a privilege to work with or own.  They consistently give us the privilege of getting to know great people all over the world who share our love.

We wouldn’t be able to make the memories of a lifetime without our friends in the pearl community. We’ve decided to dedicate a series of blog posts to some of our nearest and dearest.  So keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts where we’ll be featuring interviews with some of our friends who have fascinating stories to share about their own love affairs with pearls.

It’s become clear to us that what makes pearls even more valuable is the people these gems attract, and the friendships we’ve formed.  It’s definitely something to celebrate, and luckily there have been so many reasons to get together and enjoy each others’ company over the past few years – not that we always need a reason!

Nevertheless, we’ve gotten to eat, drink, dance, and make merry in some of California’s most beautiful locations with some of our favorite pearl people.

The annual Pearl Ruckus is always a sumptuous event, with hours to relax, compare and discuss all things pearl over the eagerly-awaited caviar spread (one of our favorite Pearl Paradise traditions) with our friends from the Pearl-Guide.com forum community.

A pearl party at the offices of Pearl Paradise

We have been getting together with our pearl friends every summer since 2009!

In 2012, our friends and staff adjourned to an estate in Malibu to do just that.

Pearl Ruckus 2012 location

 

some of the delicious food served

Great food!

 

Our friends

Great friends!

That sure seemed hard to top, but the ultimate ruckus turned out to be Jeremy and Hisano’s wedding in 2013. Friends and family gathered next to a sparkling ocean to watch the couple exchange vows.

The happy couple!

Guests were then were transported to a breathtakingly picturesque barn, where the celebration stretched long into the night.

Goregeous barn where the wedding reception was held

We’re looking forward to many more celebrations, pearls, and new friends.  Thanks for following us!

My First Hong Kong Pearl Buying Trip

Team member Lynsey joined Hisano and Jeremy on the March 2014 Hong Kong Jewelry Show buying trip

What an amazing trip! This past week I had the opportunity to join Jeremy and Hisano at the International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show in Hong Kong.  I arrived late on Sunday night, exhausted but excited to see what Hong Kong and the buying trip was all about. After a 17-hour flight straight across the Pacific ocean I jumped on a train and headed to the Kowloon side of Hong Kong to meet up with J & H who had arrived earlier that week. The city was a blur of lights, people and speeding double-stacked buses.  Every corner was lit up with neon signs and high-rise buildings. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I got settled into my hotel for the night only to realize that 9 p.m. in Hong Kong meant 5 a.m. to me.  Surprisingly enough, between the time difference and my excitement I still managed to get some sleep.

The show started first thing on Monday morning and I must have been running on pure adrenaline. I have never in my life seen so many pearls! Every color, size, type and quality imaginable as far as the eye could see. It was overwhelming and inspiring all at the same time. I spent three days at the show learning about the buying process and what really goes into finding quality pearls amidst the massive quantities that are being cultured. While we were there collecting strands for Pearl Paradise and searching for wish list items, I went hunting for the ever elusive metallic white pearls. I can honestly say that metallic strands are one in a million. Out of hundreds of booths and hundreds of vendors from all over Asia, there were only a handful of metallic pearls to be found. I knew they were uncommon and hard to find but I had no clue how exceptional they truly were. To find even one strand was an accomplishment!

My Hong Kong trip was quick, but the experience was immense and not one I will soon forget! The majority of my days were spent at the show working with the pearls, where hours can escape from you in what seems like a manner of minutes. Under the intensity of the bright lights with so much to look at I felt awake and energized all day until I sat down for dinner of course, where my biggest battle each night was keeping my eyes open long enough to enjoy the amazing food in front of me.

Despite my busy schedule I managed to do a little exploring and see a few sites!  It was a whirlwind adventure that felt like a dream after the long flight back and two days of sleeping off  jet lag. I’m back in the office now watching as the packages of pearls from the show start to arrive and getting to share my excitement with everyone else as they are opened!

It’s true what they say there is no place like home, but it seems to me that there is no place like Hong Kong either!

Back in Los Angeles with some of the pearls we selected in Hong Kong

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The shopping season has finally come to a close and we are ready to hang up our elf hats and return to normal! Every pearly gift has been dispatched and the vault is closed until Friday. It’s family time!

We’d like to wish all of our friends and customers a Merry Christmas, a terrific holiday and a safe and happy New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2014!

Merry Christmas from the Pearl Paradise team

Notably absent from our company Christmas photo is our web and IT guy Scott! During the holiday season he genuinely gets into the spirit, and this year decided to donate his time to a Beluga Whale orphanage at the North Pole. He was kind enough to send us a photo to share!

Ah, how we love Photoshop:)

Okay, okay! Just one more:)

Santa Scott Baby!

You shouldn’t have missed Photo day Scott;)