We are Featured in the Financial Times with Jewelmer!

Earlier this year, I wrote about an amazing adventure Hisano and I had visiting Jewelmer’s pearl farm in the Philippines, where we were able to take a helicopter ride around the farm and even dive the pearl lines. It was my second time there, but still the trip of a lifetime.

Jewelmer's Pearl Farming operation

What I didn’t mention in March (and couldn’t mention), was that we were taking a writer and a photographer from The Financial Times, an international daily newspaper with a daily readership of 2.2 million people and 4.5 million registered online users at FT.com.

The nearly 1000 word article came out today!

You can see the full article here.

The golden pearl, the result of a recessive gene, grows in the South Seas of Asia, in the gold lipped oyster. In the Palawan province of the Philippines, known for its beautiful beaches and saturated purple sunsets, Jewelmer, a luxury pearl brand, produces 70 per cent of the world’s top golden pearls.

If FT.com doesn’t allow you to view the entire article without an account, you can get a free account here.

I brought a GoPro camera with us to create a sort of “homemade video” of our adventure too, and decided to keep the footage mostly raw without narration so you can just enjoy the incredible beauty of Jewelmer’s golden South Sea pearl farm.

Arriving with Syl Tang, writer for the FT, and Mr. Branellec Sr.

Arriving with Syl Tang, writer for the FT, and Mr. Branellec Sr. – Photo by Nick Hunt

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 

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.

DCIM118GOPRO

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.

Effecting Change, with Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls

Continuing with the video series from the 2014 Pearl-Guide Ruckus in Palos Verdes, here is Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls giving a presentation about his life on a Tahitian pearl farm and about effecting change with sustainable pearl farming.

Pearls and the Environment, by Douglas McLaurin

As promised, here is the first of several videos shot at the 2014 Pearl-Guide Ruckus held in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

Douglas McLaurin gives a fantastic overview of the Mexican pearl industry and specifically what impacts his pearl farm has on the environment.

Provoked Baroques: A New Tahitian Pearl on the Horizon

I love Tahitian pearls. More specifically, I love the dark exotic colors of Tahitian pearls – the colors found almost exclusively in smaller size ranges. Large Tahitian pearls are highly valued, but often lack the color and luster of their smaller counterparts because larger pearls most often come from larger, older pearl oysters. As the oyster ages, it begins to lose the ability to produce fine pearl nacre. But what if there were a way to induce small, young pearl oysters into growing larger pearls?
Provoked baroque Tahitian pearlsA company out of Japan by the name of Imai Seikaku has developed a new sort of nucleus that comes in the shape of a small blue pill. This is no ordinary nucleus, but one that is composed of a super-absorbent organic substance which soaks up surrounding liquids and expands. As it expands it begins to “blow out the pearl sac,” as my friend and pearl farmer Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls put it. It essentially induces even a small, young pearl oyster to grow a large pearl sac where an equally large nucleus can be placed.
Provoked baroque Tahitian pearl When harvested, the first graft pearl is free-form in shape and filled with liquid substance, which when drained, leaves a hollow Tahitian pearl. Unlike freshwater soufflé pearls from China, hollow pearls can’t be legally exported from Tahiti so they’re discarded. In their place farmers insert large, baroque nuclei. This second graft results in giant bead-nucleated Provoked Baroques that intentionally look indistinguishable from massive keshi pearls except in one way – they have screaming luster and intensely dark colors. They are even better than traditional keshi and much larger than average keshi.

Common keshi compared to this new breed of Tahitian pearl

Common keshi compared to this new breed of Tahitian pearl

The technology is still in its infancy and production to date has been very limited. Most pearl wholesalers have yet to hear about this new type of gem let alone offer them. Josh Humbert is one of the few pearl farmers that has been experimenting with the organic, shape-shifting nuclei and believes that there is potential to use the technology to eventually grow large, colorful round pearls. In the meantime, we get to enjoy a new type of pearl!

A full strand of giant, provoked baroques

A full strand of giant, provoked baroques