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Spring News from Kojima Pearl

Spring News from Kojima Pearl

Here is a peek at our top strand from the 2018 Japan Kasumi pearl harvest. 
The natural color baroque Japanese fresh water pearls in this strand range in size from 10-13mm. 
I carefully choose each pearl in the strand for the optimum color range, and luster.
This is a yearly ritual for me, and one I look forward to very much. 
Here is a photo of the strand in natural light and the sweetness of the Spring rain.
Stay tuned for more news on our Spring Sale! 

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Winter SALE coming soon!

Winter SALE coming soon!

HOLIDAY SALE STARTS NOVEMBER 24th!

We're starting the Holiday Sale a little earlier this year. 
We're busy creating and uploading lots of new designs.
There will be something for every style. 
Want something custom?
Feel free to email us:
kojimapearl@gmail.com

For more than two decades we've been working
with the best pearls the world has to offer.

Still feeling honored to be doing what we love. 
Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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SFO-HKG-HAN-SGN-HKG-SFO-FAMILYREUNION-HIGHALERT - a pearly month in review

SFO-HKG-HAN-SGN-HKG-SFO-FAMILYREUNION-HIGHALERT - a pearly month in review

Exactly a month ago, we jetted off to Hong Kong to shop the famous pearl show. Jet-lagged but fueled with coffee and laughter we poured over the best pearls the world has to offer for four days straight. 

 

We bought treasures galore and are busy dreaming up new designs! 

I'm very excited to work with these natural pearls from the pteria penguin!

They were wild found, and are extremely rare! 

I chose each one specifically for a one of a kind collector's piece. 

 

Next stop was Hanoi. It was a joy to have 36 hours in this rich city, so full of life. 

Probably the best moment from our short stay in Hanoi was when our office manager ran out of a temple to grab me and show me her favorite part; it was a shaft of light.... that light really seemed to like her too!  #kojimagoddess

After a decade away from Ho Chi Minh City, it was so thrilling to see my friends again. 

This is Co Bay, she was my neighbor so many years ago. When I showed up at her gate (unannounced after a decade), she wasn't surprised at all, and acted like I was right on time. She is a testament to prayer and clean living.  This woman means SO much to me, seeing her again brought me to tears. 

Laughing with old friends is the best laughter. 

After all the visiting, we jumped head long into preparations for a pearl lecture and trunk show at the Circle of Love in District One, HCMC. 

We were prepped for the TV cameras and thirty reporters who showed up for the show!

It was a great time, the shop was gorgeous and the reporters asked really great questions. 

Click here for an article in Vietnamese about our visit to Circle of Love. 

We spoke mostly about Japan Kasumi pearls. We discussed the history, integrity with which they are farmed and the value of these dear fresh water pearls from Japan. 

It was our pleasure to introduce Japan Kasumi pearls to Vietnam !

Thank you Tam Mavroudis and Circle of Love for the opportunity and hospitality! 

 

Directly following the trunk show, we jumped on another flight to Hong Kong, resumed pearl shopping, processed the shipments and then made sure to get in a bit of clothes shopping. :)

Neither these options ended up coming home with us, but the temptation was real. 

A day after landing into the peace and quiet light of California, I headed up to Mendocino County for a family reunion.

This pot of gold was the perfect balance to the hectic pace of big Asian cities.  

 

 

Unfortunately, the peace and calm of our state didn't last long and now we are deep into the worst fire season in California history. 

We are hunkered down in the studio by day and reaching out and caring for our friends and family in need by night. 

We as a company will be donating to the victims and evacuees of these fires.

The California fires are only one of the MANY disasters humanity is facing right now.

May we all BE and SEE the helpers right now! 

We're home for the next couple of months prepping for our Holiday Sale which will start right around Thanksgiving and we have tonnes of pearl designs up our sleeves! 

Cheers, Sarah and the KojimaPearl team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Japan Kasumi Pearl Harvest 2015

Japan Kasumi Pearl Harvest 2015

Here are some photos from our trip to Japan this last February/March 2015
 As always, our first day was spent with the gracious and noble farmers of Japan Kasumi pearls.
It was still quite chilly that day.. but we toasted Yoneguchisan for his birthday and the quiet of the farm was a relaxing place to pick through these very special pearls.
Japan Kasumi pearls are grown ONLY in Lake Kasumi ga Ura ,  JAPAN, and these are two of the THREE farmers who still produce these very rare pearls.
Japan Kasumi pearls are NEVER dyed or treated.  After harvest they are rubbed with salt to clean them and washed only in fresh water.
Kasumi ga Ura translates to “the body of water beyond the mist”.  It is their special colors and the time honored way they are grown that makes Japan Kasumi pearls so  sought after.
This is a closeup of the shell used to grow Japan Kasumi pearls.
Yanasesan and Fuji could easily discuss pearls for a month straight.. one day with these farmers is never enough.
These are an invasive species that gives much trouble to the farmers and their precious mollusks.
Here Yanasesan is showing Fuji where he raises the mollusks that will later be nucleated with shell beads which will eventually become Japan Kasumi pearls.

 Thank you Japan.. More please!

Stay tuned as we continue to sort, drill and set these very special pearls.

Here are a couple of  photos of what we’ve put together so far from our new stock of Japan Kasumi pearls.

 This is the top strand from this years harvest the pearls measure 10-14mm.

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HOME FROM ASIA, HALF AWAKE, AND HEADLONG INTO PEARLS!

HOME FROM ASIA, HALF AWAKE, AND HEADLONG INTO PEARLS!

We enjoyed lovely weather in Tokyo for a few days, even managed to take in an antiques market where I became obsessed with these old pairs of shells, delicately painted on the inside. From what I understand they were used in a sort of memory game played by Japanese nobility (before, the internet, when people had SO much more patience). There would be a hundred or so pairs on the table and the player would identify the subtle changes in color of the top of the shell and it’s shape, checking to see if it was a perfect match by it’s fit and matching painting inside. We strolled through some beautiful parks, and before long we were on our way to Hong Kong through blue skies with a gorgeous clear view of Mt. Fuji!
Hong Kong was far from relaxing, but always fun and full of inspiration just the same. I shopped my eyes crossed for days on end. Night and day… Hong Kong is buzzing.. it never ends! I was too busy to take photos of pearls but I promise little by little they will all make their debut in front of the camera.

So here is a sneak peek into our whirlwind of uploads in preparation for our upcoming sale. I’m really excited about this season, we have so many great pearls to work with and a FANTASTIC TEAM OF SUPERHEROES HERE.. enjoying the music and creativity and laughter.. Thank you and stay tuned!

(p.s. if you haven’t done so already , make sure to sign up for the newsletters to receive the coupon code and dates for our sales.)

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ALL THE PEARL NEWS TO DATE

ALL THE PEARL NEWS TO DATE

Writing this slowly on a lazy Sunday morning here in Kowloon Hong Kong, before the Jewelry show starts tomorrow and the week of pearl shopping takes over my whole attention span. It’s been too long since I have updated this blog. Sometimes the pearl rolls so fast!
The December holiday sale, kept us more than a little busy, our strongest sale yet, with great reviews from online customers near and far… Thank you to all of you who shared the link for our sale with your friends.
January brought with it some much needed downtime and even a little vacation on the gorgeous north coast of California.
 
In January we were asked to estimate the value of a Quahog pearl for the local ABC station in Rhode Island : here is the link to our 20 seconds of fame!  http://ww.abc6.com/story/24521553/man-finds-pearl-while-eating-quahog  For the record… people who have found natural pearls usually have a fantastic imagination of the millions of dollars they are worth. If you quote a price between $800-$2000… all they hear is $2000! I did really enjoy watching the clip of Robert Morris, he has a great sense of humor.

 

The weeks leading up to our show in Tucson are always an exciting time. Full of planning and inspiration. We made a lot of news pieces for the show in Tucson, and the show was great. (even busier than last year) Overjoyed to see many old customers and to meet new ones as well. The highlights of the Tucson show for me were: having dinner with my friends of the Pearl-Guide world. Thank you to Jeremy and Hisano for once again hosting an elegant affair. This year the dinner was extra fun because it just so happened I was seated in the middle of a pearl farming information showdown! Jacques Branellec Jr.  of Jewelmer (fabulous golden South Sea pearl farmers from the Philipines … famous for their magnificent colors and quality) and Douglas and Enrique of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guayamas Mexico (Mexico’s only pearl farm, producing incredible gems in the rainbow lipped oyster).  It was a Star Wars style laser battle of highly technical pearl farming biology and techniques… an epic friendly battle between attempting to “outwit” nature and being its adoring martyr. The other pearl luminaries I was honored to be seated with kept a healthy conversation, and the group .. at the behest of Elisabeth Strack spoke openly about having an International Pearl Culture Conference. A meeting similar to that of the Aqua Culture Conference in Hawaii in 1995, where information is freely shared and the event is held in the spirit of unity as opposed to overt advertising.  I am VERY much looking forward to this conference and hope that it will be soon! I always admire Elisabeth in any gathering, she is such a learned person, and an elegant woman with the most amazing listening skills. I aspire to be such a good listener! It was an amazing dinner, I learned more in a couple of hours than I had in years. As always we had a great time on the “Pearl Walk” with Lois Berger and her band of “pearl watchdogs”. I learned about a new technique of inserting a sponge like expanding nucleus into a  pearl oyster and allowing it to soak up the water and stretch the pearl sac, so that the second graft will produce a larger pearl. This method is creating some gigantic Tahitian baroque pearls … They have soft edges and resemble huge fresh water 2nd harvest pearls in shape. I also had the pleasure to chat with Gina Latendresse of American Pearl Company  . I received a great parcel of beautiful natural American fresh water pearls from her that I will be posting on the website in the coming weeks.

With only 9 days between getting home from Tucson and leaving for Asia on a pearl buying trip… I barely had enough time to unpack, get a cold, have a birthday, fill the orders from Tucson, sleep and pack again… but by the grace of pearl fairies everywhere we made the flight! Tokyo is always fun, bright lights, quirky and  polite people,  and fantastic food. On our second day in Japan, we went to see our dear friends, the farmers at Lake Kasumi ga Ura. We spent the day with them, talking about their latest harvest, drinking tea and of course looking at pearls.  Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for the addition of new Japan Kasumi pearls to our website. We had a lovely mini vacation in Japan.  We accompanied Fuji to his childhood home in Miyanoshita Japan. We visited the shop where the original Pacific Pearls store was in the 1950’s. We visited the Fujiya hotel where Fuji and his sister Aloha were frequent visitors at the heated pool as children… and we visited Lake Ashi where Fuji’s father Rudolf was an avid swimmer. We spent a wonderful time at a hot springs in Hakone … with a view of Mt. Fuji from the pools! WOW what a magical experience, to sit in a natural hot spring with snow on the ground and Mt. Fuji in the distance. We were very lucky to have this view despite the winter weather.

All of this leads up to being in Hong Kong , my home away from home. Looking out at the view of the Central sky line and waiting waiting waiting for the show to open tomorrow. I will spend the afternoon on Mui Wo with my old friend… saving money by NOT shopping for clothes 
 With thanks and the promise to post more photos of pearls soon. Sincerely, Sarah
 
Stay tuned for our upcoming sale! If you haven’t done so already please sign up for the newsletter to receive the coupon code before it’s posted elsewhere.

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WHERE IN THE WORLD IS KOJIMAPEARL?

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS KOJIMAPEARL?

After our June Shows
We flew to Japan.

The protective ninjas we always travel with are

handmade by the amazing Aki Morishima.

From Tokyo , we rode the train to see our dear pearl farmer friends at 

Lake Kasumi ga Ura.

Next I spent two wonderful days in Kinugawa with my best friend, such a relaxing and much needed mini vacation.

And then we were off to Hong Kong for more pearl shopping and family time.

Directly following our time in Asia, I was super happy to join my fellow Pearl-Guide members in Malibu for a wonderful weekend of learning, sharing and laughing. As always , in gratitude to Jeremy Shepherd and Hisano Takei and all the people who make this my best pearl weekend each year ! I had so much fun this year, I forgot to take more photos. The pool was just too nice!

 

 

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Not your grandma’s pearls… but we have those too!