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!

Intense Blue Vietnamese Akoya

We had another great time in Hong Kong, although it was a shorter trip than usual. Somebody accidentally booked flights arriving Hong Kong a day late. We still found most of the pearls we were looking for so I forgave him;)

While at the show, we always try to visit our friends who farm akoya pearls in Vietnam. They are a small, family-run operation that does such special things with akoya pearls, like the beauties I blogged about nearly two years ago and of course this crazy pistachio strand.

This time their show was about small loose lots of special pearls! Most were quite small, but some were little monsters!

Baroque Vietnamese akoya with intense colors

While the large pearls are amazing, what really captivated my attention were the smaller pearls with colors so dark, they went from blue to almost a purple. I have always loved little pearls!

I started separating out the darkest ones.

Hisano examining baroque akoya

Although the pearls are small (mostly in the 5-6 mm range), they are farmed in Vietnam so the nacre deposition is highly accelerated due to the warmer water so the nacre is extremely thick.

They only sell pearls like these loose, which is very typical with really special pearls. But making a strand of these beauties would be amazing … our friends offered to do it for us! They promised to collect the pearls for us over the next two months and make a few strands. They are going to be so special!

Hisano examining loose baroque akoya


Something Special: Vietnamese akoya pearls

Vietnamese akoya pearls

Back in September I purchased a very special lot of loose, Vietnamese akoya pearls while at the Hong Kong show. They were large (for akoya), individual pearls with insane color and super-thick nacre. Since I wrote the blog post about these rare beauties we’ve had many inquiries for pendants, earrings and strands. We just didn’t have enough to make them available on the website.

At the show in March, however, Jeremy and I were able to get all of the remaining strands from the same pearl farmer who owns and runs the pearl farm in Vietnam, so we finally have a small selection that will be made available on the site as the June Monthly Special this week (the email will go out tomorrow – June 3rd).

Vietnamese akoya pearl pendantThese pearls not only have natural, exquisite blue body color but also very thick nacre. The farmer told us these pearls were under water longer than the typical Akoyas. The farmer also experimented by storing theses strands in a safe for five years to test the longevity of the color. He found out that the color remained the same. He decided to release this batch in March – between us and our friends from another company, we purchased everything he had. He told us that it will be another two years before he would harvest the new batch of baroque Akoyas.

With the loose pearls I decided to make simple but elegant earrings and pendants that focused on showcasing the natural beauty of pearls. I chose few of John’s molds. For the light blue Akoyas with warm body color I paired it with yellow gold and chose white gold for the cooler tones. A single bezel set diamond is just enough to accentuate the baroque pearl. The triple diamond earrings has an elegant but quiet presence. There will only be a few pieces available, but each is very special and unique.

I hope you love these rare pearls as much as we do!

Vietnamese baroque akoya pearls

A few strands that will be available during this month’s promotion

My Favorite Finds from Hong Kong March Trip

Metallic Souffle Pearls

It’s been over a week since we came back from Hong Kong but pearls are still trickling in. We were very focused on replenishing low-stock items and started the show looking for Tahitians on day one, Akoya strands on day two and freshwater pearls on day three.

Here are just a few of my favorite finds!

On day one while I was “supposed” to be looking for Tahitian loose rounds, this small lot of Golden South Sea keshi pearls caught my eye.  A Japanese vendor had an assortment of keshi pearls and this was the smallest lot he had.  We purchased a small lot of white South Sea keshi pearls at the last show and these keshi pearls were even smaller. I used the white South Sea keshi for a ring for my little h collection and I will be adding these golden beauties to the line as well.

Golden South Sea keshi pearls

On day two we stopped by our freshwater pearl friend’s booth just to say ‘Hi’ before searching for Akoya pearls but we ended up staying for a bit because our friend had set aside some metallic strands for us. As Lynsey and I started looking through the lot to check the quality, we came across these strands that matched my special ring.  It was very unexpected and I can’t wait to make something special with them.
Metallic freshwater pearl strands that matched my special ring

In our hunt for Akoya, we decided to visit our friends who are Japanese, but operate an Akoya pearl farm in Vietnam. Back in September, we bought almost all of his extra-special loose baroque pearls. I knew that he was hesitant to sell the pearls because he wasn’t planning on making them anymore. I felt a little bad and decided to make two pearls into pendants for his daughters and gave them to him at the show. He was also really excited to hear that so many people had expressed interest in his pearls after my September Show blog post.

He told us that he is just now starting implantation for a new crop of natural blue baroque Akoyas and that it would be another two years before he would be able harvest them again.  The baroques he had at this show were from a selection that he had locked in a safe for a number of years to prove that the color would not change. Jeremy decided to purchase everything he had left.

Natural color baroque akoya pearls from Vietnam

Day three was all about freshwater pearls. Lynsey looked for metallic strands and Jeremy and I went through the buy list of our standard items. While I was sorting 6.5-7 mm freshwater strands Jeremy left the booth. He always says, “I’ll be right back” but that usually turns into half an hour (at least) or more. He cannot walk across the show without bumping into someone. Whether it’s our friends Kevin and Alana from Pearls of Joy, or vendors who we used to work with, everyone wants to talk to Jeremy.

An hour or so went by when he came back and when I was just about to nag him for not “working”, he surprised me with this interesting pearl. He went over to Grace Pearl’s booth to compare some pricing and found this Edison drop pearl. It was set in a 14K white gold bale and sold as finished jewelry but since the color was so unique, Jeremy bought it anyway.

I decided to remove the white gold bale and refresh the look with our Adore pendant in rose gold.

Jeremy and I get to look for fun pearls usually on the last day of the show. This is when we can concentrate on looking for wish list pearls and something different for our promotional events.

Here are some yummy fireballs:

Besides the regular Fireballs, we also found coin nucleated versions.

We had some special requests for small size soufflés that can be made into rings. Out of two containers full of smaller size soufflés, these are the smallest special ones I was able to find. These petite soufflés are 11-15 mm.

Since we had a little more time than usual, we matched some white fireball strands and small souffle strands from for-sale-as-loose pearl lots.

We’re excited to start designing with these wonderful pearls!

Amazing Pearl Finds at Hong Kong Sept Show

Jeremy examining strands of freshwater pearls

Our main goal for the show was to buy our main stock items for the holidays. It took hours and hours every day selecting large quantities of Akoya and Freshwater strands but we were still able to take a break and find some exceptional pearls.

Crazy metallic Edison pearls

Giant Edison freshwater pearls with insane colors
I am particularly happy with our new Edison pearls. Last season we purchased some beautiful buttons but this time I was able to select large Edison drops. These drops have very smooth clean surface with very little blemishes. I selected over 20 pairs and a handful of loose. The colors are mostly lavender with copperish overtones, few metallic-like luster with green overtones and beautiful pale pink. These warm tone 14-15 mm drops are perfect for Fall/Winter outfits!
We were also able to get some nice near perfect round white and lavender Edison pairs in 14-15 mm. These earrings will be such a perfect statement pieces.

Hisano matching giant white Edison freshwater pearls

Matching white Edison round pairs

Another amazing find was baroque loose Vietnamese Akoya pearls. The colors and luster on these pearls are breathtaking.

Vietnamese akoya pearls unlike any we've ever seen

Baroque, natural color akoya pearls from Vietnam

This is the farmer who created the unique pistachio strand Jeremy blogged about in July. His two daughters exhibit at the HK show every year and I became good friends with them. It is very rare for them to get something this large (8-10 mm) and with this luster. These pearls took 3 years into making and the farmer stopped producing them because of the low survival rate of the mollusks. Some of these pearls were the daughters’ favorites and they were very gracious to offer them to us. They also had a small loose lot of silvery blue baroques and I made few pairs. Now I need to come up with something exceptional to showcase these beauties.