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 and Ruckus friends) and ate some Amazing food!


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


A Custom Beauty

Every time Hisano and I head to Hong Kong we bring “the wish list.” We have items on the list that have remained there through multiple shows. But every time, we spend a lot of our time trying to find those extra special pieces.

One of our friends had seen a necklace a Mikimoto that she was hoping to duplicate, only better. The necklace was three rows of akoya strands, graduated in size from the center strand to the outer strand. These sorts of necklaces can be difficult to make. Hisano made something similar in 2.5-5.5 mm akoya pearls for our Tokyo wedding in 2012.

I thought this piece would look amazing if we were able to match three strands of white metallic, freshwater pearls. We are always looking for white metallics when we are in Asia, but they are so few and far between, finding three matching strands in graduating sizes would be a challenge.

Our first attempt was at the June show. While we did collect some white metallics, none of them matched the way we were hoping they would, so we shelved the idea until the September show.

Because we deal with so many processors, and sometimes we may only find one or two from a single company, we weren’t sure whether we would be able to make the piece after this show either until all the shipments had arrive to Los Angeles. When they did, I separated all the metallic whites and found these!

Metallic White Triple Strand Strand of Freshwater Pearls

The center strand was not quite as perfect round as the inner and outer strands, but the luster and color was nearly a spot-on match, and the three strands were perfectly size-graduated.

Today the strand was finished, and tomorrow it will be on its way!

Three-row metallic freshwater pearl necklace

A three-row necklace composed of metallic white freshwater pearls

September Hong Kong Jewelry Show Recap

Hisano and I finally returned from Hong Kong last week and have been busy sorting pearls as the the shipments come in. We spent a full eight days in Japan and Hong Kong filling the vault with new freshwater, Tahitian, South Sea, akoya and even Galatea carved pearls.

On the first night of the show, we met up with our friends from, who came from quite literally around the world to see the show. We hosted a dinner on Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was a great kick off for a successful week.

Our friends from’s discussion forum

The September show is the busiest one for us because we are stocking for the holidays, so we were selecting pearls from morning until evening, every day for the entire week. We were fortunate to find nearly everything that was on the Christmas “buy list,” and nearly everything that was on the pearl “wish list” for our friends who contacted us before we left (and those who contacted us while we were there)!

A usual, most of the excitement was in the freshwater pearl category, although we spent the majority of our time sorting and selecting Tahitian, South Sea and akoya pearls. That said, we did find a very small lot of something extraordinarily special from a Vietnamese pearl farm. The pearls were so special, they were really only for show. On the last day, however, the farmer agreed to sell them to us. Hisano is going to blog about the show soon, so she will be the one showing those beauties off, as well as the special Edison pearls she selected.

Hisano Selecting large Edison single pearls and pairs

Hisano matched a fireball strand for a special customer

Two of our friends had requested special strands; one a unique fireball necklace like the necklace Hisano matched at the June show, and another with very special Edison pearls. Hisano went through a large lot of fireball pearls with a greenish-copper coloration to remake one very special strand. I re-worked and matched the metallic, slightly drop-shaped Edison strand below with whopping 14-15 mm pearls. The size is actually quite special as the standard size in matched strands is 12-15 mm. What this actually means is that the entire strand is made up of center “hero” pearls. Most Edison strands only get one! This is going to become someone’s statement piece, no doubt.

A 14-15 mm, giant Edison metallic pearl strand

A 14-15 mm, giant Edison metallic pearl strand

The loot that I am probably most happy with was something I’ve been seeking for years, since the time we first made metallic round strands – uniform-color, perfectly round metallic strands.

When we arrived in Hong Kong, a good friend of mine and owner of the farm that gave us soufflé pearls called me to say he had something he really wanted me to see before the show got under way. He has always been our best source for metallic pearls, separating out everything he thought we would like. What he had matched this time blew me away. The strands are perfectly round, graduated and metallic, and of Freshadama grade. We selected 58 strands, including just a few mixed-color strands that were just too special to pass up. Our friends from Pearls of Joy selected a few as well, and between the two of us, we took everything he had made.

Uniform color, intensely metallic, perfectly round strands of freshadama grade

For those of you waiting to hear from us, we have nearly finished sorting through everything. If we haven’t reached out to you yet, we will soon!