A trip to Paradise (and Hong Kong)

My apologies for being a bit late on the Hong Kong pearl report. Shortly after Hisano and I arrived back in Los Angeles I had to leave again to attend my son’s graduation from Delta Flight Attendant Training. We once again have a flight crew member in the family!

Hong Kong was fantastic as it always is, but the best part of the trip was our visit to Paradise – Jewelmer’s pearl farm in Tay Tay, the Philippines. It was my second trip to the farm and while it wasn’t a leisure trip, it certainly felt like it.

We brought a GoPro camera and shot quite a lot of video, including from a helicopter over the farm and underwater where Hisano and I swam a full line as the panel nets were being flipped. Video always takes a lot of time to piece together, so in the meantime here is some eye candy to enjoy!

It requires breathtaking beauty to grow perfect golden pearls

It requires breathtaking beauty to grow perfect golden pearls

Click the image to zoom in and see the actual pearl lines.

Click the image to zoom in and see actual pearl lines.

This is why pearl farmers MUST be environmentalists. This is the purity required to grow pearls.

This is why pearl farmers MUST be environmentalists. This is the purity required to grow pearls.

We took a "Pearl Line Selfie" at 20 meters :)

We took a “Pearl Line Selfie” at 20 meters :)

Each panel filled with pearl oysters is flipped

Each panel filled with pearl oysters is flipped

Somewhat eerie yet so beautiful.

Somewhat eerie yet so beautiful.


Yes, those are fish - thousands of them.

Yes, those are fish – thousands of them.

It was difficult to leave, and the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong immediately following serene paradise was bit of a adjustment, but there were pearls to be found and only three days to find them. We missed the first two days of the show while in the Philippines.

Apart from the regular shopping list items we did stumble accross some special things! We picked up some insanely colored Edisons including a dark purple strand and matched up a bunch of giant ripple pearls to create a colorful monster.

We also discovered a small Japanese company that had not come to the show before and one we’d never seen in Kobe. They’re niche is very specialized – baroques. In the past I had only been interested in the natural-color silver blue baroques but only because the whites that I’d seen were borderline rejects. The white strands they had were different – lustrous with great colors and visibly thick nacre. They were also big – 9.5-10.0 mm. They didn’t have many of the large strands available but we ended up taking all of them inlcuding their natural-color silver-blues.

To understand the size of these pearls, that center ripple is 18 mm.

To understand the size of these pearls, that center ripple is 18 mm.

A few notable pearl finds

Following Hong Kong, I spent a week in Europe so we are just now getting around to organizing and categorizing all the pearls Hisano and I were able to find. We were able to collect quite a number of the metallic white drops that sold out in a day last April, and Hisano is currently making as many pairs as possible before reaching out to those awaiting their earrings and pendants.

While we found quite a lot of amazing pearls, a few really stand out as being truly different.

One strand of akoya was unlike any I’ve ever seen. We’ve often carried natural-color silver-blue, golden and natural-white akoya, but this strand is Pistachio. The pearls have a natural, pistachio-green body color with thick, Vietnamese nacre. This strand is one of a kind.

Natural Pistachio Colored Akoya Pearls

Natural-color akoya pearls with pistachio-green body color

Hisano and I spent most of our time looking for the new, unusual and spectacular. Much of this involved going through countless lots of loose pearls to find those rare exotics that break from the norm of typical pearl possibilities. Most of the time there aren’t enough perfect exotics to make uniform strands, so we will typically make either multicolor pieces, or pieces of jewelry that require fewer pearls like tin cups or pendant and earring sets.

That wasn’t the case with the lavender-golds that we collected. We were able to make one strand. The pearls are perfect, and all very close to 10 mm. This is quite possibly the best 10 mm metallic freshadama strand we’ve ever made.

Metallic Lavender Gold Freshadama

A perfect strand of 10 mm, metallic-lavender-gold freshadama pearls

We also spent quite a bit of time collecting fireball pearls. Most of them we kept loose for earrings and pendants, but with some of them we decided to be a bit more creative. Hisano spent several hours collecting enough fireballs with strange, copper-green body color with purple and pink overtones to create a strand and bracelet combination – side-drilled.

This one is eventually going to need a photograph on a bust to really show the uniqueness of the finished piece.

Large fireball freshwater pearls with copper-green body color

Large, side-drilled fireball freshwater pearls with copper-green body color

These are just the tip of the iceberg, and more special finds will be debuting soon! Since Hisano is working with the loose drops and other exotic baroques, I’ll let her describe some of those finds in her own words soon!

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