We are Heading Back to Asia Next Week

The Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem ShowNext week, Hisano and I will  be heading back to Asia for the biggest pearl-buying trip of the year – the Christmas buy! We will be heading first to Japan, followed by a week in Hong Kong for the large, September jewelry show. This show attracts nearly 52,000 buyers from around the world, including a lot of our friends from Pearl-Guide.com’s forum, turning the week into a family reunion of sorts.

The September show is split into two parts; one at the Asia World Expo at the Hong Kong International Airport, and another at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. The most important show for us is the one held at the Asia World Expo. This is where the pearl producers exhibit and where jewelry manufacturers go for loose pearls. Finished jewelry is more prevalent at the latter show.

This past June, Hisano and I collected as many truly unique, one-of-a-kind pearls as we could find for the ‘Pearl Connoisseur’ selection we put together early this month. We were thrilled with the overwhelming response, and are now considering doing similar promotions in the future. We will still be on the lookout for the new and the unique this trip, but our main focus this time is going to be on traditional inventory.

As I mentioned in June, if you have something on your wishlist that you would like either one of us to find, drop either one of us an email and we will do our best.

Lastly, I will be speaking at the Wanchai Show on September 16th. If any of our friends are at the show and would like to attend, we would love to see you!

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!

Just finishing up in Hong Kong

We’ve just finished up the annual June jewelry fair in Hong Kong, and while the show was not one of the largest, there were still pearls aplenty. I am headed to Europe from here, so I won’t be back in Los Angeles until the first week of July. Hisano is headed back now, many of the new pearls in hand!

For a quick recap, we did manage to collect a few more large, metallic white drops. We didn’t find as many as we were hoping to, but those on the waiting list for pendants should finally get their pearl! Apart from the metallic whites, we found a lot of truly unique, exotic freshwater pearls (click the image to the left).

Small Tahitians were still difficult to come by. The Poe Rava Nui auction was held just before the show, but small-size lots (with emphasis on 8-9 mm) were scarce. We did manage to pick up one lot from a farmer visiting the show.

Akoya pearls weren’t on the list, but we met one producer, a newcomer to this show, with a few amazing strands of 8-10+mm graduated, natural-white-color akoyas. We put a hold on the strands, which are now on their way back to Japan to get natural-color certified.

More pictures will be forthcoming when I am back in Los Angles and have a chance to unpack all the loot!

Heading to the June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

The Hong Kong Jewelry Fair, June 2013

We are leaving for the June jewelry show in Hong Kong tomorrow, June 18th!

If it seems like Hisano and I were just in Hong Kong at a show, it’s because we were, just this past March. The March jewelry show is one of the large shows, while the June show is Hong Kong’s smallest. Although small, the 2012 show featured more than 1,700 exhibitors for 36 different countries and attracted more than 25,000 buyers from around the world. This year shouldn’t be much different.

Before each show and/or trip to Asia we compile our ‘Waiting-for-Pearls’ list. This is a collection of special requests for certain pieces and styles of pearls that we don’t normally carry, or that are simply hard to find. The longest list we have is of our friends awaiting more of those white metallic drops that sold out in a day. We are hoping to find a lot more of them.

If anyone does have a special request not yet on the list, please email me directly, Jeremy (At) PP.com. If we’ve already left, send a message to anyone on the team and they will get the request to us. I can’t promise we’ll fill every request, but I promise we will try!

Crowds registering for the Hong Kong Jewelry Show

The registration hall at the Hong Kong jewelry show can get quite crowded

 

Hong Kong Jewelry Show 2013

The Hong Kong Exhibition Center in Wanchai

We’ve just returned from one of our largest buying trips of the year, the March jewelry show in Hong Kong. This is always an important trip because much of our inventory is depleted during the back-to-back Christmas and Valentine’s Day shopping seasons.

Hisano and I landed in Hong Kong at 9 am local time on Tuesday, and arrived at the Wanchai Exhibition Center at 11 am. The show lasts only five days and every day is important, so like usual, we set out as soon as we landed. That evening, and every evening that followed, we had dinners with friends and suppliers – four nights in all. Saturday, as soon as the show finished, we were back on an airplane headed to Los Angeles. It was exhausting, to say the least, but equally rewarding!

We had a lot of ground to cover in five days, and a lot of items on the shopping list. My job was to find the difficult lots that were needed to plug holes in our inventory, while Hisano spent more time finding new and special pearls. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous, but she does have the eye for it and my buying strengths are negotiating and name recognition.

Below is a breakdown of some of what we came home with this week.

Tahitian Pearls

In January, 2011, we had the opportunity to purchase the entire stock of AAA rounds from a large trader in Tahiti at a good discount. Because we were battling the rise in the Euro at the time and Tahitian pearl prices were starting to go up, it made sense. We still have thousands of loose rounds left over, but we were starting to run low on 8-9 mm and dark peacock in nearly every size.

This situation created a problem for us on two fronts; most Tahitian pearl lots come in sized lots of 8-10 mm and purchasing separated dark-peacock Tahitian lots can be very expensive. Furthermore, 8 mm Tahitians have become somewhat scarce over the past year, so most 8-10 mm lots contain very few 8-9 mm pearls.

Over the course of the week, I met with three different producers (including Alexander Collins from Takaroa where our Tahitian pearl documentary was filmed) and one trader, and was able to negotiate deals on six different Tahitian pearl lots. One was a dark, mixed lot of 8-9 mm, and the others were all dark peacock lots of varying sizes – exactly what we needed.

A selection of the 10-11 mm Peacock rounds that we brought back from the show.

Hisano and I also met with Chi Hyun of Galatea to examine (and ultimately purchase) his new line of hand-carved Tahitian pearls. Unlike the “carved” Tahitian pearls we’ve seen in the past out of Tahiti, Chi’s pearls are genuinely carved and not simply etched. Stay tuned for this collection!

South Sea Pearls

In the South Sea genre we went all out. We had every size of white rounds on our list, and purchased lots ranging in size from 9 to 17 mm, most from a single producer. We had good luck with golden South Sea as well, purchasing round lots ranging from 9 to 12 mm, a nice lot of drops and baroques, and even one lot of free form baroque and circled unfinished strands – something we rarely do, but as you can see from the previous link, our stock is low. We were so happy with what we found, we should be well stocked through the entire year!

Akoya Pearls

We didn’t have much on the list for akoya this trip, and what was on the list was in short supply. We needed to find some nice lots of 6-6.5 mm and 6.5-7 mm, but very few were to be had. In the end, we only returned with around 150 strands of akoya.

Freshwater Pearls

As usual, this is where Hisano and I had the most fun. While I spent nearly two full days separating out loose pearls for our freshadama and metallic white lines, Hisano visited at least a half dozen producers and processors looking for those special, must-see-to-believe pearls. I can’t go into too much detail and spoil upcoming surprises, but some of her finds included; giant black Edisons, some of the largest baroques I’ve ever seen, metallic fireball pairs, green-golds and even large, drop-shape metallic whites. This is going to be fun!

We did spend the last afternoon of the show getting in a bit of eye candy and visiting some of the well-known natural pearl dealers like Shanghai Gems and Tara and Sons. The conch, melo melo and other exotic naturals were amazing.