We are Featured in the Financial Times with Jewelmer!

Earlier this year, I wrote about an amazing adventure Hisano and I had visiting Jewelmer’s pearl farm in the Philippines, where we were able to take a helicopter ride around the farm and even dive the pearl lines. It was my second time there, but still the trip of a lifetime.

Jewelmer's Pearl Farming operation

What I didn’t mention in March (and couldn’t mention), was that we were taking a writer and a photographer from The Financial Times, an international daily newspaper with a daily readership of 2.2 million people and 4.5 million registered online users at FT.com.

The nearly 1000 word article came out today!

You can see the full article here.

The golden pearl, the result of a recessive gene, grows in the South Seas of Asia, in the gold lipped oyster. In the Palawan province of the Philippines, known for its beautiful beaches and saturated purple sunsets, Jewelmer, a luxury pearl brand, produces 70 per cent of the world’s top golden pearls.

If FT.com doesn’t allow you to view the entire article without an account, you can get a free account here.

I brought a GoPro camera with us to create a sort of “homemade video” of our adventure too, and decided to keep the footage mostly raw without narration so you can just enjoy the incredible beauty of Jewelmer’s golden South Sea pearl farm.

Arriving with Syl Tang, writer for the FT, and Mr. Branellec Sr.

Arriving with Syl Tang, writer for the FT, and Mr. Branellec Sr. – Photo by Nick Hunt

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 

The 7th Annual Pearl-Guide Ruckus

We were honored to host The 7th Annual Pearl-Guide Ruckus once again last month in the Pacific Palisades, just outside of Los Angeles!

For those of you who have considered joining this growing group of pearl enthusiasts, pearl vendors and pearl farmers from around the world, maybe this fun video will help push you along. We love to make new Pearl Friends!

A Short Conversation with Hisano

After the success of our very own Chief Creative Officer’s showing at the Las Vegas JCK Jewelry show, we decided to create a short video in which she shares her inspiration and process behind her International Award Winning Pearl Geode and Finestrino Collection.

We hope you enjoy!

Intense Blue Vietnamese Akoya

We had another great time in Hong Kong, although it was a shorter trip than usual. Somebody accidentally booked flights arriving Hong Kong a day late. We still found most of the pearls we were looking for so I forgave him;)

While at the show, we always try to visit our friends who farm akoya pearls in Vietnam. They are a small, family-run operation that does such special things with akoya pearls, like the beauties I blogged about nearly two years ago and of course this crazy pistachio strand.

This time their show was about small loose lots of special pearls! Most were quite small, but some were little monsters!

Baroque Vietnamese akoya with intense colors

While the large pearls are amazing, what really captivated my attention were the smaller pearls with colors so dark, they went from blue to almost a purple. I have always loved little pearls!

I started separating out the darkest ones.

Hisano examining baroque akoya

Although the pearls are small (mostly in the 5-6 mm range), they are farmed in Vietnam so the nacre deposition is highly accelerated due to the warmer water so the nacre is extremely thick.

They only sell pearls like these loose, which is very typical with really special pearls. But making a strand of these beauties would be amazing … our friends offered to do it for us! They promised to collect the pearls for us over the next two months and make a few strands. They are going to be so special!

Hisano examining loose baroque akoya

 

HK Show – Burmese South Sea, Tahitians & Vietnamese Akoya Pearls

We had a good time at the June Hong Kong jewelry show last month and brought back some special goodies!

Before getting into the pearls, I think it makes sense to share a short bit of Burmese (Myanmar) Pearl history.

Burma has a long history with pearls, both natural and cultured. For centuries, the native sea-faring population of the Mergui Archipelago known as Salons, were the traditional pearl divers. Pearls from the “Mergui shell” (a.k.a. Pinctada maxima) were some of the finest the world had ever seen. It’s no wonder Burma was one of the first places where South Sea pearl farming was first introduced.

 burmese necklaceIn 1954, and Japanese pearl company headed by a Mr. Kikiro Takashima set up the first pearl farm on Sir Malcolm Island as a joint venture with Burmese government agency. The pearls produced are still today considered the finest South Seas ever – as seen with this Burmese triple strand.

Unfortunately, the farm was nationalized in 1963 and the Japanese pearl farmers given the boot. Burma maintained the operations for a time, but eventually the pearl quality became so bad, the industry eventually came to a near complete stop.

Well there is some good news for South Sea pearl lovers. Burmese pearls are coming back! Production is still limited and overall sizes are still quite small, but OH the luster! South Sea pearls are known for their soft, satiny luster, not sharp, metallic luster like fine akoya pearls but somebody forgot to tell their oysters that.

The pearls below are from a 323 round pearl lot we picked up, ranging in size from 8-12 mm, with luster like hanadama akoya pearls.

Burmese White South Sea Pearls

Tahitians also made the special list this trip. To be more specific, small Tahitians made the special list.

Our friend Alexander Collins from Takaroa (incidentally the same atoll we shot the Tahitian pearl documentary on several years ago) brought some very interesting lots to the show. Apparently the baby pearl oysters he collects to farm pearls have been uncharacteristically small over the past few years. So instead of trying to force a larger pearl from a small shell, Alexander started using smaller implants.

Tahitian pearls as small as 7 mm are a very rare find outside of French Polynesia. It isn’t because they are never harvested. It’s because they rarely have enough nacre to be legally exported. But Alexander left the shells in the water for the full 18 months, so his baby Tahitians have thick nacre and are only 7-8 mm in size. He had thousands of them! We only purchased one lot of around 1000 pieces. We aren’t sure what we’ll do with them yet, but little pearls usually end up going to little h.

7 mm Tahitian pearls

There was a Japanese pearl dealer who was attracting attention with a special Tahitian keshi lot unlike any I’d seen before. The pearls were a special dark peacock – the sort of keshi pearl one finds one or two of in a large lot.

Although the lot attracted substantial attention at the show it remained unsold until the last day. On the last day of the show, Hisano was able to convince (or should I say charm) them into splitting the lot, allowing us to take just 30 momme. These are going to be fun! Hisano is already pulling special pearls for her Tahitian Pearl Geode and keshi ring, the best-selling piece at her Las Vegas JCK Debut in May.

dark peacock Tahitian keshi

The final pearls to make it to the Hong Kong Special List are some of our favorites – Vietnamese Akoya Pearls. Our Japanese friends who farm in Vietnam always produce some of the most amazing natural-color baroque pearls we ever see. Hisano has a particular affinity for them and for that reason I am going to leave the special Vietnamese akoya news to her! That blog post will be coming soon.

That’s the special Pearl news of the trip. We also had a lot of fun with friends. This last photo is of Hisano and Justin Hunter of J. Hunter Pearls Fiji posing with Peking Duck :)

Hisano Justin and the duck