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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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really a Ruckus to remember

really a Ruckus to remember
Every year at the end of July, 
we gather with our fellow Pearl-Guide friends in Los Angeles for a weekend of true pearl FUN. 
Hosted by the generous power couple ,
Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of Pearl Paradise and Little h Jewelry
The group of us gathered in a gorgeous mansion in the Beverly Hills to listen to lectures given by : 
Our dear friend Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez Pearl farm in Guaymas Mexico
(North America's ONLY salt water pearl farm). 
Douglas is a gifted speaker and a BRILLIANT mind. 
His lectures are always fascinating and FUNNY! 
We love the gorgeous color of Sea of Cortez pearls and use them often in our designs. 
Josh Humbert also gave a lecture on how he raises his gorgeous Tahitian pearls in sustainable and environmentally sound ways at his farm on Ahe in French Polynesia. 
Kamoka pearls are true gems, and we have been honored to work with them in the pearl business for many years now. 
Having made visits to the Kamoka pearl farm, I can attest to their commitment to the environment and also the magic that is Ahe. 
Ruth Johnson was the LUCKY winner of a contest sponsored by Pearl Paradise and won a trip to visit the Atlas Pearl farm on Bali Indonesia!
She showed us a wonderful video of her adventure! 
Renee Newman, the author of multiple books on pearls and gemstones..
namely the Pearl Buying Guide gave a lovely talk on advancements in the pearl world. 
The Pearl Buying Guide is available online and it is a fantastic way to educate yourself on up to date information! 
You may recognize the photo we donated to this cover of the latest edition! 
We're delighted it was chosen! 
Blaire Beavers, the moderator of Pearl-Guide.com was honored with a lovely necklace this year, and also gave a talk on the wild adventures of Octavia, the mascot of Pearl-Guide. 
Octavia has spent time at pearl farms and with fellow forum members all over the world. 
This year our gathering was in honor of our dear friend Caitlin Williams, a long time moderator of the forum and a brilliant and loving woman... who is and will be dearly missed.
It was a wonderful blessing to have her daughter, son-in-law and grandson in attendance to carry on her legacy in pearls. 
 
This year was our biggest group yet! 
Smiles were plenty, the food was phenomenal.. and the view was breathtaking. 
Everyone wore their best pearls and traded stories into the wee hours. 
This event is such a joy for me. 
Thank you Jeremy and Hisano and the whole team at Pearl Paradise for graciously keeping this pearl rolling for all these years! 
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Summer in full swing!

Take a break out of your day and feast on some of these Summer pieces we've put together.
Keep it light! 
These simple chain necklaces are lovingly made with a collection of colorful stones set atop Sea of Cortez rainbow lipped oyster mabe pearls. 
These "little gem" necklaces are bright, light and playful. 
These green/gold and blue vintage Japan Akoya pearls came out of the Pacific Pearls family vault! A trio of lengths and different colors are lovely by themselves and regal together. 
Two wonderful long Tahitian pearl ropes... do you keshi my drift? 
A batch of our latest "inner petal" rings, rhodium plated with BIG pearls and tiny gemstone clusters. 
feather pearls, Japan Kasumi and another little magic necklace to keep it light this season
We're off to join our Pearl-Guide friends for the Pearl Ruckus this weekend,
and very much looking forward to it.
Hope you're all having a fantastic Summer! 
We'll be back next week with loads more photos for you. 
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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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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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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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Tucson Show 2016 and Other News from our Pearl World

Tucson Show 2016 and Other News from our Pearl World

The Tucson show was, as always, exhilarating and exhausting! It is  such a treasure to chat with customers who we’ve known for decades and fun to meet the new ones too. Memories of the first five days are a blurr of pearls and invoices. Each night brought a different dinner of pearl traders, rare stone dealers, entrepreneurs, designers, travelers, and very entertaining people. As always, a huge thank you to Jeremy and Hisano for having us to the Pearl-Guide dinner!

Our first batch of Japan Kasumi pearls from the 2016 harvest arrived home with Fuji just before our Tucson show. On the patio overlooking the desert mountains, I put together the first strand. It sold with in the first couple of hours of opening!

Sometimes being in the booth for days knowing the whole town is buzzing with treasure is challenging.. but when friends stop by to share extraordinary pieces.. like this 150 ct. natural wild found horse conch pearl I forget about the outside world.

Stay tuned for many new wild found natural pearls coming to our loose pearls section soon!
Including pearls from the Spondylus princeps, and a strand of giant clam pearls..
as seen in pearls of the week on Pearl-Guide.com
And of course no Tucson Gem Show is complete with out a bizarre purchase or two.. this year’s winner was a vintage set of hand made gold jewelry set with elks teeth. 
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Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2016

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2016
GJX
BOOTH #107
February 2-7 2016
(Fuji’s birthday is February 3rd, come by for cake and jokes, embarrassing him is free of charge)
The most fun a pearl booth in Tucson ever has.. Pacific Pearls.
This is a strict wholesale only show, buyer registration is required.
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