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.

Every Day Pearls

I’m a girl who truly loves pearls, and being a part of Pearl Paradise has given me the ultimate opportunity to express my own style with pearls, many of which I would never be able find anywhere else.

Tiny size akoya pearl strandThe pearls I wear every day are rarely seen on the website, and this is partly because most of the pearls I prefer are a lot smaller than the average size.  My number one go-to pearl necklace is my 36-inch white akoya pearl strand on 14K matte ball clasp. I love how my outfit instantly polishes up with this necklace.  The pearls are AA+/AAA quality silver to silver rose overtone 4.5-5 mm akoya pearls from Japan. I wear it as a double strand or one long strand. It’s easy to carry when I’m traveling and very useful when I am out on vacation or attending a Hong Kong jewelry show.

Knowing my weakness with tiny pearls, our Akoya vendors started bringing in smaller sizes whenever they visit our office. My recent acquisition of tiny Akoyas was a natural yellowish golden 2.5-3 mm strand. I am still pondering what to make with it.

My tiny collection is not only in Akoyas. A few years ago, Jeremy told a freshwater pearl supplier that I love tiny pearls. The supplier sent us lustrous 2-2.5 mm white freshwater pearl strands that had strong silver overtones. I’ve made them into multi-strand necklaces that range from 16 to 26 inches. I’ve also made a multi-strand bracelet adorned with white diamond beads.

Another long necklace that I love wearing is a 16.5 mm, White South Sea circled baroque pearl on a 14K rose gold chain accented with tiny akoya pearls. We recently purchased a large lot of giant White South Sea baroque loose pearls. The sizes ranged from 13 to 20 mm. We made pairs and pendants for a monthly special. As I was picking out the pairs for the sale I found this plump pearl with a small tip at the top. There was something charming about this pudgy pearl with warm silky white body color with hint of rose overtone. I started to gather rose gold chain and findings along with rose tone akoya pearls that were left over from my wedding necklace. I randomly wire wrapped the 3-4 mm akoya pearls on the chain to make a 30 inch necklace. I took this design when I was working on the black Freshwater Edison pearls. I made a sterling silver version of my necklace accenting with small black Freshwater pearls.

This wasn’t the only time my own jewelry became a PP item. I found an amazing pistachio color Tahitian baroque pearl once sorting through a newly acquired lot. I had to make something simple to showcase the amazing color. I wire wrapped it onto a delicate yellow gold chain and dangled a yellow diamond briolette bead right next to it. Jeremy loved the simple look and suggested for a new item on PP. Since pistachio colors in Tahitians are rare I took smooth drop shape peacock tone and adorned the bale with a black briolette diamond. The Noir pendant is now a staple item on our Tahitian baroque page.

Pistachio Color Tahitian pearl with diamond briolette