The September Hong Kong Jewelry Show

It’s been a busy summer here at Pearl Paradise with the mid-year sale followed by the Pearl-Guide Ruckus, the Tahitian promotion and now the Connoisseur Sale. I just realized today that I forgot to post about the upcoming trip to the September Hong Kong jewelry show!

Hisano and I leave this Friday and this time we are bringing Angela with us! Angela has been our photographer for three years now and she was part of the magic behind the videos shot at the ruckus. She is coming to Hong Kong to take lots and lots of photos and video. This should be good!

I know it is last minute, but feel free to reach out to me or to Hisano with any special requests. As always, we’ll do our best to find them — Jeremy@pp and Hisano@pp
The Hong Kong Show

Hong Kong, June 2014: My favorite finds

We had another whirlwind trip to Asia. The show layout looked very different this time. Our regular vendors had a lot smaller spaces but seemed to be busier with visitors crammed in tight booth spaces.

Jeremy and I had the pleasure of having Elia with us this time. Since it was her first time at the show, she had to wait in the winding long line to get her badge. While she waited Jeremy and I visited a couple of Tahitian pearl producers exhibiting and got several loose lots. Our small size Tahitians (8-9 and 9-10 mm) are always in demand and we were happy to find the right colors and quality to replenish our stock.

As we searched for other pearls, we came across a bundle of blue baroque Japanese Akoya strands and they were big – over 11 mm! We’d never seen this size baroque strands before so we were very lucky to find these few strands almost buried with loose South Sea lots.

Large Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Large Blue Baroque Akoya strands

I stopped by the Vietnamese Akoya pearl farmer’s booth to say hello and they were delighted to hear our successful June Monthly Special featuring their pearls. The farmer has brought the rest of the blue Akoyas that he had kept in his vault for the last six years. The price on these strands were at a premium so I decided to take two strands that had the best color and the luster for our upcoming September Conoisseur sale.

Premium Vietnamese Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Premium Vietnamese Blue Baroque Akoya strands

Right before the show started one of our regular Akoya suppliers stopped by our office and offered us a few natural-color, madama akoya strands. It’s so rare we get see any true madama-grade strands so we took them all and immediately sent them to Japan for certification. They just came back from Japan and we’re happy to have them in stock again. We’ll be listing them soon.

Madama strand

Madama strand

While Elia searched for mid-year-sale worthy pearls, I looked for special pearls for our Conoisseur sale. The Conoisseur sale is the one special time where we can let our creativity fly. There’s always some special pearls that captivate us that can’t be categorized as a regular color, overtone or shape. Here are some of those special pearls:

Slight off round Edison pearls

Slightly off round Edison pearls

When Jeremy and I saw a loose lot of perfectly round, GIANT Edisons, we  thought long and hard whether to get them or not. After few negotiations Jeremy decided to take two out of the four I selected.

Super Lustrous 15-16 mm Edison Pearls

Super Lustrous 15-16 mm Edison Pearls

We’ve also had some requests for large Fireballs.

White Fireballs

White Fireballs

Natural Color Fireballs

Natural Color Fireballs

We also had some requests to look for the Edison drop pearl with a “oil-slick” orient like the pearl Jeremy found for me last March.

OIl Slick Orient Edison Pearl

Oil Slick Orient Edison Pearl

We are now well stocked for the summer and excited to let our creativity burst!

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

Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, June 2014

The Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, June 2014

Although it just seems like yesterday, we are headed back to Asia once again for one of the large, Jewelry and Gem shows in Hong Kong, taking place from June 19th through the 22nd.

In March, we brought team member Lynsey with us to experience what a pearl-sourcing trip is really like. This time we’re going to bring a team member who has been with us for nearly a decade now – Elia! This is Elia’s first trip ever to Asia, and we’re excited to have her along. She is going to be working on product sourcing for our July promotion and the September Connoisseur promotion.

We have one busy week ahead of us, but as always, if there is something special or something particular you would like us to look for, please drop us an email. We will do our best!

Jeremy & Hisano

My Favorite Finds from Hong Kong March Trip

Metallic Souffle Pearls

It’s been over a week since we came back from Hong Kong but pearls are still trickling in. We were very focused on replenishing low-stock items and started the show looking for Tahitians on day one, Akoya strands on day two and freshwater pearls on day three.

Here are just a few of my favorite finds!

On day one while I was “supposed” to be looking for Tahitian loose rounds, this small lot of Golden South Sea keshi pearls caught my eye.  A Japanese vendor had an assortment of keshi pearls and this was the smallest lot he had.  We purchased a small lot of white South Sea keshi pearls at the last show and these keshi pearls were even smaller. I used the white South Sea keshi for a ring for my little h collection and I will be adding these golden beauties to the line as well.

Golden South Sea keshi pearls

On day two we stopped by our freshwater pearl friend’s booth just to say ‘Hi’ before searching for Akoya pearls but we ended up staying for a bit because our friend had set aside some metallic strands for us. As Lynsey and I started looking through the lot to check the quality, we came across these strands that matched my special ring.  It was very unexpected and I can’t wait to make something special with them.
Metallic freshwater pearl strands that matched my special ring

In our hunt for Akoya, we decided to visit our friends who are Japanese, but operate an Akoya pearl farm in Vietnam. Back in September, we bought almost all of his extra-special loose baroque pearls. I knew that he was hesitant to sell the pearls because he wasn’t planning on making them anymore. I felt a little bad and decided to make two pearls into pendants for his daughters and gave them to him at the show. He was also really excited to hear that so many people had expressed interest in his pearls after my September Show blog post.

He told us that he is just now starting implantation for a new crop of natural blue baroque Akoyas and that it would be another two years before he would be able harvest them again.  The baroques he had at this show were from a selection that he had locked in a safe for a number of years to prove that the color would not change. Jeremy decided to purchase everything he had left.

Natural color baroque akoya pearls from Vietnam

Day three was all about freshwater pearls. Lynsey looked for metallic strands and Jeremy and I went through the buy list of our standard items. While I was sorting 6.5-7 mm freshwater strands Jeremy left the booth. He always says, “I’ll be right back” but that usually turns into half an hour (at least) or more. He cannot walk across the show without bumping into someone. Whether it’s our friends Kevin and Alana from Pearls of Joy, or vendors who we used to work with, everyone wants to talk to Jeremy.

An hour or so went by when he came back and when I was just about to nag him for not “working”, he surprised me with this interesting pearl. He went over to Grace Pearl’s booth to compare some pricing and found this Edison drop pearl. It was set in a 14K white gold bale and sold as finished jewelry but since the color was so unique, Jeremy bought it anyway.

I decided to remove the white gold bale and refresh the look with our Adore pendant in rose gold.

Jeremy and I get to look for fun pearls usually on the last day of the show. This is when we can concentrate on looking for wish list pearls and something different for our promotional events.

Here are some yummy fireballs:

Besides the regular Fireballs, we also found coin nucleated versions.

We had some special requests for small size soufflés that can be made into rings. Out of two containers full of smaller size soufflés, these are the smallest special ones I was able to find. These petite soufflés are 11-15 mm.

Since we had a little more time than usual, we matched some white fireball strands and small souffle strands from for-sale-as-loose pearl lots.

We’re excited to start designing with these wonderful pearls!