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Our hearts are with JAPAN!

Our hearts are with JAPAN!
Since March 11th I have been in contact every few days with our dear friends who produce these very rare and special Japanese fresh water pearls in Lake Kasumi ga Ura.  In fact this newsletter has been edited and re-edited many times. Thank you to all those who have expressed their concern for our family and friends in Japan.
Thankfully I am happy to report that the farmers and their families are all in good health following this tragic event. One of the farmers was in his boat on the lake tending to the pearls when the earthquake hit. He realized what was happening and was able to make it to higher ground. Their houses were shaken so badly that everything inside was tossed about, and there is some structural damage to two of the buildings. At first the report was that there was no damage to the pearl farm.. however with more time to inspect… it became clear that 40% of one of the farms was destroyed, and there was considerable damage in two of the other farming locations. The worst of the damage was the loss of  the water tank which is used to nurture the baby mussels to adulthood . This is a 5000 square meter water tank.. and it is vital to ensuring the future of pearl production in Lake Kasumi…. and the lively hood of these precious people.
At present there is little that can be done in terms of work or repair. . Even though the farm is roughly 100miles away from the nuclear power plant at Fukushima.. the people of Kasumi ga Ura have been instructed to stay inside as much as possible. The fear of exposure is still very real. There has been no postal service since March 11th.. and there are very few supplies. Gasoline is in high demand.. and not easily obtained, according to the farmers, this is one of the biggest struggles.
PLEASE USE THE DISCOUNT CODE : JAPANKASUMI
FROM NOW UNTIL JUNE 12 2011
(the discount code may also be used on items that do not contain Japan Kasumi pearls.. and for those sales, I will donate 5% to the farmers of Lake Kasumi)
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND INTERNET SHOPPING BUDDIES!
I have learned a lot about our friends in these last weeks.. that they are strong people, that they are positive and humble through the toughest of circumstances….. and that their passion for producing pearls is helping to keep them inspired through this extreme time of uncertainty and sadness.
In support of our amazing farmers and the tradition they work so hard to maintain… will be offering a 10% discount on all Japan Kasumi pearls and in turn we will be donating 10% of all of those sales of Japan Kasumi pearls back to the farmers to help them in their efforts to recover their water tank and damaged farms… and to ensure that they can continue to produce these pearls that have become so loved as symbols of natural brilliance grown with the spirit of small and careful production.
As we all have been inundated with the news of this tragedy.. it is no secret that  THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE STILL SUFFERING IN JAPAN.. and I hope that you will all consider making a donation to the PEOPLE in need BEFORE supporting us in our efforts to rebuild what was damaged of the pearl farms at Lake Kasumi. There are many many aid organizations to choose from, here is just one suggestion : http://www.americares.org/
PLEASE USE THE DISCOUNT CODE : JAPANKASUMI
FROM NOW UNTIL JUNE 12 2011
(the discount code may also be used on items that do not contain Japan Kasumi pearls.. and for those sales, I will donate 5% to the farmers of Lake Kasumi)
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND INTERNET SHOPPING BUDDIES!

This last year was one of the  largest harvests in many years.. and full of rich deep colors, these pearls are a delight to photograph, and play with. As many of you know (and some of you may not).. These pearls come from the only pearl producing lake in Japan, Lake Kasumi ga Ura (which translates to “the body of water beyond the mist”. There are ONLY 3 farmers working tirelessly to seed, maintain and harvest this production. That is 3.. just 3 people!!!  not thousands, just 3 people. These pearls represent a labor of love.. and dedication deeper than greed. The beauty of this shows in the pearls. These pearls are not mass produced..they are the opposite of that!

I can say that this year there is a larger percentage of deep color round pearls.. which is something not easily found in the past. For many years  the coveted deep purple Japan Kasumi pearls were always baroque.. so to open the cloth bags and find even 20 pieces of deep purple round pearls.. I was overjoyed with these! There are of course hundreds of the baroque pearls with deeply rippled surfaces in various colors.
Every year, I open the bags of Japan Kasumi and become interwoven with the harvest for many hours as I slowly sort these pearls into piles of similar quality and brilliance. (and occasionally find a few pairs.. which is not an easy task considering their propensity towards quirky characteristics). With pearls spread out on the table, in careful little bundles.. I slowly put the strands together. Next I drill each pearl, in each strand. After so many years.. it is with pleasure that we can exhibit the new strands in Tucson for all to see, and I am always amazed how many people stop by just to see “them”. We humbly owe the very existence of these pearls to the farmers. This year I was happy have finished several strands.. each with a unique glow.
OUR TIME AT THE TUCSON GEM AND MINERAL SHOW FEBRUARY 2011
The show in Tucson was a great success this year! WE WERE A VERY BUSY BOOTH… not too busy to throw Fuji a surprise birthday party of course! This last year, we were blessed to be hosts to two of the farmers from Lake Kasumi ga Ura, and show them around the show. They gave an extensive interview with Elizabeth Strack  (author of PEARLS) and they were overjoyed to meet fellow pearl farmers Douglas McLaurin and Enrique Arizmendi who run a magical endeavor in the
*** DID YOU KNOW? Pearls are actually GOOD for the environment… Pearls cannot grow in polluted water, so the more the pearl industry grows the more likely pearl farmers are to ensure their neighbors are also protecting the water! This is especially good news for countries of intense industrial growth, such as China. ***