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Spring Sale starts April 29th!

Spring Sale starts April 29th!

 

We are very excited about all the new styles we have to offer you this Spring. 

The first being this delicate but modern necklace we deemed The Duchesse .

(in honor of the never failing fashion advice to be found on Passage Des Perles Blog )

The luster of the South Sea baroque white pearls is fantastic and the 16.5mm natural silver color round Tahitian pearl in the center keeps this necklace from being overlooked! The necklace is made completely of 14k yellow gold and is finished with a small lobster claw clasp. 

 

Along the same lines, but slightly less formal is this 20" long medley of Chinese fresh water pearls spaced with chain. 

 

We also have a few new mixed metal tiny seed bead necklaces that are light and easy to wear with warmer weather. 

This series of necklaces is made with 2mm oxidized sterling silver beads, mixed hues of pink tourmaline, Tahitian keshi pearls, Japan akoya keshi pearls and high luster white South Sea baroque pearls. In some of the necklaces we added gold vermeil paddles (which were cast from ancient South East Asian beads, and tiny textured gold vermeil beads to add warmth. I love how the tiny beads and spacing allows for the pearls to really show their individual shapes and colors. 

 

We are also excited to bring back some of our favorite material to work with : 

Sea of Cortez Pearls

These mabe pearls really exhibit why these shells are called "Rainbow lipped oysters". 

 

Stay tuned, we are still uploading a treasure trove of new designs!  

Are you signed up for our newsletters? 

You can find the sign up section on the bottom right of our home page. 

I'll send out an email with the Spring Sale Coupon code just before the 29th!

With warmth from all of us here at Kojima Pearl

 

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Pearl Buying Guide - 6th Edition

Renee Newman is a very hard working author (a very cool lady),
and this is her 6th edition on how to buy pearls!
I love this series of books, and I find them a wonderful tool for educating customers, and entertaining husbands while their wives shop! 
You can purchase this latest edition : 
Pearl Buying Guide
on Amazon
We contributed some photos to this wonderful book on pearls, as did many other ardent pearl collectors and friends! 
It is the best $16 investment to updating your pearl knowledge on the market!!

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NEW kojimapearl.com WEBSITE!

NEW kojimapearl.com WEBSITE!

After months of travel, I am home for long enough to completely redo our website.
We are all really happy with the finished product! 
In the spirit of Spring, we also reorganized our sunny San Rafael studio to enlarge our showroom. 
So if you find yourself in the (greatest) Bay Area, email me to make an appointment!
We hope you enjoy the new website, and as always feel free to ask any questions that come to mind. 
With warmth from all of us here at Kojimapearl ! 

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Japan Kasumi – cultured fresh water pearls from “beyond the mist”

Japan Kasumi – cultured fresh water pearls from “beyond the mist”

This year (2016) the Pearl-Guide Ruckus was the biggest yet!
Stay tuned for more news on this AMAZING weekend in pearls!
I gave a presentation about our precious Japan Kasumi pearls.
For those of you who asked for the presentation in print.. or who couldn’t make it.
Here is my presentation and a few more accompanying slides.

I’ll start with my teachers teacher:
Several twists of fate landed Rudolf in Japan during
WWII with $20 and a camera.
While in the mink business, he started working with
pearls in 1938.
In his own words,
“he was in the business of cultured pearls before anyone wanted them”

Fuji Voll (my teacher) grew up with an intimate knowledge of the pearl industry.

Here he is at the age of 3 in 1951 at the family pearl farm in Japan.

By the early 1950’s Pacific Pearls had a retail shop in the Ginza district of Tokyo ..

selling mostly Akoya pearl jewelry to tourists and also fresh water pearls from Lake Biwa in Japan.

It was during this golden age of pearls that Rudolf met Mr. Uda… They stayed friends for 40 more years.

Mr. Uda was to fresh water pearls what Mikimoto was to Akoya pearls.. he was the money bags.

(note his henchmen) :)

Dr. Fujita was Mr. Uda’s teacher, he was also directly responsible for populating Lake Kasumi ga Ura with pearly mussels from Lake Biwa in Japan.

Decades later he created the first pearl farmers cooperative in Lake Kasumi ga Ura.

Kasumi ga Ura translates to the “body of water beyond the mist”.

Located some 40 miles from Tokyo, it is not really a lake but a gigantic river delta that flows to the Pacific Ocean.

Pearls are farmed in the river tributaries

Pictured here in the Spring. It is teeming with life.

Today Japan Kasumi pearls are produced using a hybrid mussel.. a cross between the

Japanese Hyriopsis shlegelii

and the

Chinese Hyriopsis Cumingii

The nucleation method used today is based on Mr. Uda’s technique from the 1920’s!!

Using an ice pick the technician picks up the thru- drilled bead and a small piece of mantel tissue.

After the bead is insterted into the body of the animal, the mantel tissue is slightly sucked up into the hole of the bead, ensuring a higher percentage of retention.

This is an x-ray of a strand of Japan Kasumi pearls ,

it was made by our family dentist..

You can see the crossing lines of drilled nucleus and drilled pearl.

By the 1980’s Lake Biwa was not producing pearls, the water level was much too low and pollution had taken it’s toll.

Lake Kasumi has also suffered great loss due to pollution, although it has never completely ceased to grown pearls.

At it’s height there were 30 pearl farms, today there are only 3!!!

After the fall of Lake Biwa and the near disasters at Lake Kasumi many Japanese technicians looked to China for work..

many of them were misled with lofty promises.

In the end the seeding techniques that they brought with them gave rise to the pearls we see coming out of China today.

The farmers currently in production in Lake Kasumi today did a HUGE amount of work with the local government to help clean up the lake.

Working to ensure it’s health for generations to come.

BOW DOWN!

Having grown up with Mr. Uda, Fuji met Yanasesan in the early 1980’s.

Fuji was his first customer when he started producing bead nucleated pearls in Lake Kasumi.

(Yanasesan had , for two decades prior been producing tissue nucleated pearls in Lake Kasumi which were bought by OPEC countries and most likely marketed as natural pearls)

I have been accompanying Fuji on buying trips to Lake Kasumi ga Ura since 1996.

I’ve seen them through great years of success and times of deep sorrow.

(in 2003 there was a horrible blight, and in 2011 a devastating earthquake .. both of these events compromised pearl production in big numbers)

We visit the pearl farm once or twice a year and personally choose each and every pearl we bring to market.

Like almost any harvest, most of the pearls are baroque.. With Japan Kasumi, it is the baroque pearls that have the characteristic dreamy color play and dramatic metallic luster.

Round Japan Kasumi pearls are quite precious and often command much more formal attention worldwide.

There are absolutely NO treatments done to Japan Kasumi pearls.

After harvest they are rubbed with salt and washed with fresh water.

Japan Kasumi pearls are NEVER dyed black, silver or any other color.

Why would you buy Japan Kasumi pearls, especially with China producing similar pearls for often a fraction of the price.

Provenance and the story of the three remaining farmers at Lake Kasumi ga Ura is what sells these pearls.

Like Sea of Cortez pearls and Kamoka pearls.. these pearls are special and they are rare.

Often times the challenges far outweigh the benefits of farming and yet these pearl farmers persevere.

Every year I field dozens of emails from people asking if their pearls are truly from Lake Kasumi ga Ura.

I have written numerous blog posts about the subject.

I won’t bore you with all the inane details of these emails.. but in short these were all sales that happened because of a lack of knowledge on both the seller and the customers part.

As we all know with on line shopping, if it seems to good to be true.. it IS!

Japan Kasumi pearls will never be the same price as Chinese fresh water pearls..

there is just too big of adiscrepancy in cost of living and size of production.

If you are buying pearls to get a “good deal” and pay less.

Japan Kasumi pearls are not for you.

They are special and rare and they always will be.

As a side note : Kasumiga is a BRAND NAME.. it should not be confused with provenance.

So let’s say it out loud together.

They are called Japan Kasumi

Japan Kasumi pearls.

NOT ANYTHING ELSE..

Just JAPAN KASUMI PEARLS.

We believe in the magic of Japan Kasumi pearls..

We believe in the power of pearls to be the canaries of the waters they are grown in.

The more money and attention that is paid to pearls, the more likely the farmers are to ensure clean waters for their animals.

Pearls are the ONE and ONLY gem in the entire jewelry industry that is actually GOOD for the environment..

and these last remaining farmers did their part to keep this water as healthy as it can be.

They deserve our respect and attention.

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Pearl Month in Full Swing

Pearl Month in Full Swing

Here are some of my favorite highlights so far in this MONTH OF THE PEARL!
We have received some very special carved pearls from Tahiti.
Each pearl is one of a kind, the carving is EXPERTLY done, and the pearls are colorful and large.
These two example are 16 and 17mm!
I first started buying carved pearls in the Cook Islands in 2004!

I met Jim Tokerau at his studio and was absolutely mesmerized by the intricate seascapes and detail he so expertly carved into these precious black pearls.

(black pearls are not only grown in Tahiti :)

Over the years, I have bought and sold many carved pearls.

I only buy the pearls I love… That is also something I tell any and all perspective customers!

I have seen some pretty awful carved pearls on the market as of late…

so it is with even more joy that I can help to support this ancient tradition of Polynesian carving.

You can read more about carved pearls on Pearl-Guide , and see some of our past designs using carved pearls.

We also have a brand new strand of Japan Kasumi pearls available.

Here is our dear friend (and cancer survivor) modeling them last weekend.

She is a most graceful woman and it is an honor to watch them glow with her.

Strong women in pearls … bow down!

We have just finished a great and very busy show. Looking forward to creating more new pieces and uploading more of our treasures!

Thank you all for your support and warm words.

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Lucy and Ethel’s great road trip to KojimaPearl

Lucy and Ethel’s great road trip to KojimaPearl

Last month we were graced by the presence of two TRUE pearl lovers .. These dear ladies affectionately refer to themselves as the Lucy and Ethel of pearls. While being best of friends they are also frequent contributors to many jewelry and pearl online forums. These ladies KNOW THEIR PEARLS! I adore both of them and am pleased to be able to share the thread they started on Pearl-Guide. It’s a great sneak peek into where our jewelry is made and what to expect if you ever come to visit us.

http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?10470-Road-trip-to-Kojima-Pearls

and if you’re not familiar with Pearl-Guide.com  I urge you to become a member and meet pearls you had never dreamed of!

 

 

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Japan Kasumi pearls… unravelling the mystery!

Japan Kasumi pearls… unravelling the mystery!

There has been a lot of buzz about Japan Kasumi pearls in the last couple of years. The internet is teeming with pearl dealers claiming to be selling these rare fresh water pearls from Japan for pennies on the dollar , or yen as the case may be. I have fielded countless inquiries from confused pearl owners , as well as frustrated appraisers.
I start by asking them a series of questions:

  1. What year were these pearls purchased?
  2. What was the price paid?
  3. Do you have the original invoice?
  4. Can I see photos of the pearls?

Here is an example of what I get:

Here is my response to one such puzzled and extremely diligent appraiser concerning this strand shown above, and its original sales slip from 2008.

While these Chinese fresh water pearls were quite interesting for their shape and size at the time… they are clearly from China and not from Japan Kasumi at all. I have never seen Japan Kasumi pearls in these shapes, and certainly not an entire strand of them. The price paid is another factor. $1700 would barely cover their cost of production in JAPAN, much less the markup, gold and rubies!  The current value of this Chinese fresh water baroque pearl strand today is approximately $500. Chinese pearl producers have flooded the market, diminishing not only the value of their own pearls, but the perceived value of pearls in general.

Meanwhile back on the Japanese pearl farm at Lake Kasumi ga Ura.. the three farmers continue to grow a sustainable amount of pearls and the prices hold relatively steady

You will also kindly take note,  that the invoice reads KASUMIGA pearls.. the term “kasumiga” was for many years a trademarked and somewhat “catchy” name. What customers were buying were “branded” pearls.. there was never proof that they were actually from the Japanese lake, because the branded, trademarked name acted as a fail safe. (i.e. it is entirely possible that the pearls being sold as KASUMIGA were in fact Chinese pearls or a gentle mix of the two). This catchy trademarked name stuck with many uninformed pearl buyers and has been used ever since to describe all matter of pearls, mostly Chinese in almost any color or size, nucleated or not.

Pearls of wisdom: Unravelling the complex world 
of appraising pearls

Here is a link to an article by Gina D’Onofrio from www.JewelryBusiness.com that we contributed some photos and information about Japan Kasumi pearls to. 

 

 

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Thank you customers, Thank you Thursday!

Thank you customers, Thank you Thursday!

WE HAVE JUST FINISHED UP A FANTASTIC SPRING SALE HERE.

 I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO PURCHASED, COMPLIMENTED, AND SHARED NEWS ABOUT WHAT IS WE DO HERE.
IT IS A JOY AND A PLEASURE TO BRING YOU THE VERY BEST AND WEIRDEST PEARLS I CAN FIND.
MAY YOU ALL WEAR THEM WITH A SMILE!
SO TODAY, IN A COSMIC WAY..
IN WALKED A 17MM ROUND PISTACHIO TAHITIAN PEARL.
WHEN I SAW IT I SAID “WOW THIS MUST HAVE MADE A FARMER VERY VERY HAPPY’
TURNS OUT IT WAS MY TAHITIAN FRIEND WHO PULLED THIS BEAUTY FROM THE WATER.
IT IS WAS THE ONE AND ONLY PEARL WORTH KEEPING FROM AN ENTIRE HARVEST OF SECOND GRAFTS!!
THIS IS A RARE PEARL INDEED!
MMMMMMMMM…… THANK YOU THURSDAY!
(MORE PLEASE)

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DIY Guide : how to make a genuine Japan Kasumi pearl necklace

DIY Guide : how to make a genuine Japan Kasumi pearl necklace

Part I :
Get on an airplane, travel to JAPAN. Meet with the actual people who farm these rare pearls in Lake Kasumi ga Ura. Drink tea, giggle, negotiate and buy their pearls.
Part II:
After carefully navigating the import duty procedures and a good night’s sleep, sort the pearls by shape, size, luster, surface quality and color.

Part III:

Carefully drill each pearl using a specialized machine. Ventilation and patience required. https://www.facebook.com/KojimaPearlCompany/

Part IV:

Wash the drilled pearls in fresh clear water, we recommend using Mt. Shasta spring water (but any old mystical mountain water will do).

https://www.facebook.com/KojimaPearlCompany/

Part V: Carefully choose each pearl for the strand to create wearable art , showcasing not just each pearl but the fluid glow of a true heirloom.

Part VI: String the pearls on your choice of thread , learn to knot pearls (expect some amount of frustration at the onset), choose a clasp and create a truly one of a kind piece of natural history.

Speaking of history... Did you know that one of our Japan Kasumi pearl necklaces was featured in the Pearls Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC in 2002? It toured around the world with the exhibit for many years after that!

 

 

There are a select handful of online pearl dealers who are currently carrying genuine Japan Kasumi pearls (besides ourselves and our family company Pacific Pearls ).
If you would like me to introduce you to them, please feel free to email me.
The rest of them are either misleading or being mislead.. or both.
As always, to make educated choices as to which pearls you should buy and wish to avoid look no further than Pearl-Guide.com

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