Hong Kong Pearl Buying Trip Wish List Hunting – March, 2016

As usual, we hit the ground running looking for our staple items. The first day of the show reminds of those scenes we see every year on Black Friday – huge crowds rushing into the venue to shop.

The Japanese Akoyas were still very high in demand especially in the Asian market and we had to push our way through the Japan Pavilion to search for the smaller Akoya strands.

By now I have gotten used to squeezing myself between small pockets of space I find between people to get closer to the pearls and firmly tell other buyers to wait until I am done selecting when I see someone’s hand reaching over to my “keep” pile.

Since the March buying trip is a smaller buy for us we were able to take the time to look for the wish list items.
We had a lot of requests on 11-12 mm pairs of white Edisons. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything in that size that were lustrous and round enough to bring home.
But I was able to find a  lustrous silver overtone 14-15 mm pair.

14-15 mm white Edison pair with silver overtone

14-15 mm white Edison pair with silver overtone

I found one metallic round 11-12 mm Edison pearl. I couldn’t find a match but brought it back anyway because it’s amazing!

11 mm metallic Edison

11 mm metallic Edison

We were also on a search for metallic drops. We got few pairs but while I was going through the pile of drops I found this perfect oval shaped pair. It’s not metallic but it’s rare to see such pleasing shape… that matches!

Perfect drop pair

Perfect 9-10 mm drop pair

We had a request from a customer who lost half a pair of her metallic studs. After going through a large box full of metallic pearls we found a match! It was quite literally the only pearl like it in the box. It made us happy that the new pair can be enjoyed once again.

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Pairing colorful Freshwater drops are way more fun than pairing black and white Akoyas.

Metallic drop pairs

Metallic drop pairs

Sometimes our wishlist hunt can take years. I received a request from a special client and friend to look for a perfect drop shaped white south sea pair. I searched and searched for two and  a half years and finally met the right pair! Perfectly paired perfect drops are incredibly difficult to find.

Our photographer getting creative with the drop pair photo!

Our photographer getting creative with the drop pair photo!

We haven’t decided on the setting but it is very exciting to finally find a pair.

There was also a rather unusual request on a wish list. A client was looking for golden south sea heart shaped pearls. When Jeremy and I actually found them we were pleasantly surprised. Not only do they exists, they are actually quite beautiful. I am not a fan of heart-shaped jewelry but this golden south sea heart had the right curves, plump body and a beautiful deep golden color.

We learned that there is one special farm in Indonesia that cultures these hearts and they only grow 200 pearls per year.

Golden Heart Pearl

Golden Heart Pearl

Jeremy found a strand that made his heart sing. It was toward the end of the show when one of our vendors was showing us some white south sea baroque strands when this unique Tahitian strand caught his eye. The strand has the most subtle pastel assortment of colors with fiery, intense overtones. The size range is 10-11.9 mm.

He almost put it back but I convinced him that sometimes we need to get something that we fall in love with. He agreed. He really loves Tahitian pearls and this strand truly is special.

Unique Tahitian drop strand

Unique Tahitian oval strand

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There was something that I fell in love too. I found a small bundle of tiny Tahitian keshi strands. Although small, the strands stood out with their dark green body color and how smooth the shapes were.

The size start at 3 mm and up to 5.5 mm. The vendor said it was a labor of love and he enjoyed creating the strands.
I selected a strand for myself and one for someone special who also has an affinity towards tiny pearls like I do.

Delicious tiny Tahitian keshi strand

Delicious tiny Tahitian keshi strand

We’re also going to be introducing a new pearl for Mother’s day. Stay tuned for our email newsletter and upcoming blogs for the BIG reveal!

Special pearls from the September Hong Kong Show

I am a bit late posting about the September pearl buy but I didn’t forget! September is the biggest show of the year for us because we select inventory for the Christmas season and that means a lot (and I mean a lot) of inventory. Hisano and I don’t have much time to look for the “fun” stuff in September!

But that isn’t to say we didn’t have fun! We had so many friends that were at the show, and three people came just to join us; Chenai our director of operations, and Blaire and Sheri from Pearl-Guide forum! Blaire is the managing editor of Pearl-Guide News and Sheri is a long-time member who has made it to all the Ruckuses.

Sheri offered to help Hisano, Chenai and I sort and so I gave her just one job – sort out two lots of special metallic half-drill white pearls and select out just the pearls that screamed at her. We called them Sheri’s Screamers.

Sheri sorting the metallics

This is a shot of a few of the screamers as she was pulling them out. Metallic is metallic – shiny is not metallic. These pearls are metallic. And they scream!

the screamers

Sheri sorted out 185 grams, ranging from 6-9 mm pearls. To save you from doing the math, that comes out to six strands with a few extra grams to spare. Part of the reason I’m a bit late with this post is because I wanted to wait until we had the half-drill pearls fully-drilled and matched into strands.

Six strands of Sheri's Screaming metallic pearls

Six strands of Sheri’s Screaming metallic pearls

While those screamers are something else, the main standout to me were loose, beaded white rounds in big sizes. Freshwater pearls have never looked like this before. I ended up matching two strands in sizes 9.3-12.3 and 10.5-15 mm. BIG!

Large round whites

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We also met with our friends who farm akoya pearls in Vietnam, and they are now so close to having those special baroque blue strands in our hands! We really had hoped they would be here before November 1st, but it looks like they might not arrive for another week at least.

Until next time!

Chenai’s first trip to the Hong Kong Jewelry Show

When the opportunity to go to Hong Kong presented itself, I took the chance and did not look back!  Within the next 24 hours, my air ticket and hotel were booked and I had arranged child care. It was decided, before the trip, that I would look for the wish list items.

I slept for most of my 15-hour flight so I arrived in Hong Kong well rested and ready for the task at hand. Since my flight arrived early morning the first day of the show, Jeremy and Hisano met me at the airport and we were off to the show! After spending almost an hour in a Disneyland-like line, I got my badge and was official! We entered the Pearls hall and was quite overwhelmed at the size of the room. So many pearls! So much to see! Thankfully, Jeremy and Hisano have been doing this for a long time so I did not feel so overwhelmed.

Pearls Hall - HK Blog With a long to-do list, we wanted to make sure we didn’t waste any time. We spent the first day buying Akoya pearls and a Tahitian loose pearl lot. It was such a thrill to watch Jeremy and Hisano negotiate with the suppliers. We had to walk away from one vendor because of their high prices, went to the booth across from them and purchased most of our Akoya pearl strands!  I also picked out a golden South Sea strand from the wish list. We left the show feeling quite accomplished! Headed to the hotel, checked in and got ready for dinner.

Day 2 and half of Day 3 was spent doing quality control on Freshwater strands. The rest of Day 3 and all of day 4 (last day) was spent filling the gaps and gathering the wish list items (my main objective). My list included pistachio Akoya pearls, white metallic Freshadama strands, a multicolor Edison strand and graduated freshwater necklace in pink (Batman style). The first thing I learned while going through wish list is how difficult it is to find the pearls on my list. Quickly realizing why it is a “wish” list. Sometimes, it seemed as though I was looking for a unicorn!  So many vendors, so many pearls to look through, in search of that needle in a haystack. If I was lucky enough to find what I was looking, the price had to be just right!

Pistachio Akoya

True pistachio akoya are so rare!

Pink Batman necklace

One wish list item was a pink “Batman” graduated strand – I needed to match large center pearls

I learned so much about the buying process. Seeing how difficult it can be to get pearls in the quality that we have come to be known for at a price that makes our customers happy. I had a great time in Hong Kong. I explored the night market with Mike and Sherri and shared a lot of giggles with Blaire (all Pearl-Guide.com and Ruckus friends) and ate some Amazing food!

Dinner

Hisano and Jeremy love Din Tai Fung

Some of our amazing finds will be in some upcoming sales including the Black Friday sale!

White Metallic pearls

You can see the REAL metallics mixed in – metallic is metallic (as Jeremy says)

Vietnamese Akoya strands and loose pearls

Our friends that farm akoya in Vietnam had a special hidden stash just for Hisano

Colorful Tahitian drop lot

This lot was yummy! It has so many rare colors!

A few special pieces will be debuting next week!

As those of you on our email list know, we’ve been adding new pieces to our mid-year clearance page every Tuesday this month (and most things are snapped up by mid-afternoon). Well next week we’ve got a few new things that we’re extra excited about – round, metallic-white freshwater strands!

If a strand of those mirrored white orbs have been on your list, keep an eye on the sale page on Tuesday morning! The strands are all long (think 35 inches and longer) and truly special!

white metallic long strand

We chose a special new style of clasp for one of the upcoming options!

We chose a special new style of clasp for one of the upcoming options!

Working with Metallic Soufflé Pearls for Black Friday

Natural color, metallic soufflé pearls with green and rose tones

There is a particular freshwater pearl producer and processor with whom Jeremy has developed a special relationship. This is the same producer responsible for the line of inception pearls, faceted pearls, and of course soufflé pearls.

In 2010, during a visit to China, the producer showed off some pearls that he thought were interesting, but he no longer planned to grow them. They were pearls nucleated with an earthen material that was removed after the pearls were drilled. The problem was, pearls are typically sold by weight, and these hollow pearls were a lot lighter than they appeared.

Hisano holding 3.4 kilos of metallic soufflé pearlsJeremy immediately recognized the pearls from the previous year’s Tucson Gem Show. Pearler Jack Lynch had debuted these hollow pearls and coined the term “Soufflé.” A few Google searches later he was able to show the producer that these pearls were making waves and he should focus on producing more.

Just a few months later, the producer exhibited at the Hong Kong Jewelry Fair and featured (nearly exclusively) soufflé pearls. The response was tremendous, both from buyers and the trade press. Soufflé pearls are now his primary business.

Just last month he harvested a fresh crop of these special pearls and offered to send us what he considered the finest pieces of his production. Last week we received approximately 3.4 kilos of metallic, natural color and natural luster soufflé pearls. We decided we had enough time to use some of them for Black Friday!

Soufflé pearls are much more difficult to work with than typical pearls. Each pearl has to be drilled and everything in side of it removed prior to being set. We’ve come up with a few tricks (thanks Marianne from Pearl-Guide!) to speed up the process, but it is still time consuming. We are still hoping to have at least 50 pieces to add to our big sale on Friday.

Now on to the eye candy!

Metallic loose Soufflé pearls with greens and pinks

Metallic loose Soufflé pearls with greens and pinks

Free form baroque metallic Soufflés

Free form baroque metallic Soufflé Pearls

Soufflés with metallic sea foam colors

Soufflés with metallic colors that remind me of sea foam

Orient so intense it looks almost like burnt orange from some angles

Orient so intense it looks almost like burnt orange from some angles

Silver, gray with blue tones

Soufflés with silver, gray and blue tones

A soufflé pearl pendant that will be featured on Black Friday

A soufflé pearl pendant that will be featured on Black Friday

Another soufflé pearl pendant that will be featured on Black Friday

Another pendant that will be featured on Black Friday – freshwater aren’t supposed to be this color!

I also matched a total of five “super strands,” but we’ll probably send those back to Asia to drill, so they won’t be ready for quite some time. Here is a sneak peek of one of them though.

A matched strand of metallic Soufflé pearls