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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II
The farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls met while they were studying Marine Biology here in Guaymas. These three brilliant men: Douglas McLaurin, Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava are all very different personalities but share a love of science, history and especially the ocean.
They are men of facts.

In 1991, long before a single oyster was nucleated here, the farmers of Cortez pearls spent a huge amount of time gathering what was left of the native Pteria sterna “rainbow lipped” oysters and fostering a repopulation following their near extinction.

The earliest chronicles of boat captains and Jesuit priests reported leagues upon leagues of pearl beds in the Sea of Cortez.  These accounts were recorded after the arrival of the Spaniards following the conquest of Mexico City in 1523. Over-fishing by the Spaniards and the freshly created nation of Mexico led to dramatic losses.

The creation of the Hoover dam greatly effected the Sea of Cortez and led to near extinction of many species. For thousands of years the Colorado River had supplied fresh water to the Gulf of California. Upon the completion of the dam, that fresh water dried up and changed the salinity balance of the entire gulf, killing some species of fish and robbing all others of oxygen rich waters.

Click here for an article by Douglas McLaurin to read more about these fascinating historical events and learn about the great Japanese Conspiracy in the Sea of Cortez!


Pearls oysters/mollusks are the “canaries” of their environs. They cannot survive in polluted water.
Small scale pearl farms such as the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, Kamoka and the fresh water pearls grown in Lake Kasumi ga Ura Japan are actually GREAT for the environment!

In the case of Sea of Cortez pearls the farmers created a generous no-fishing zone around their farm and all species have flourished there, which in turn has brought greater health to the entire bay… (By giving shelter to fish, the populations have increased, which in turn makes the fishermen happier, which in turn makes a brighter community of people)

As I sit here looking out over Bacochibampo Bay I can easily see how bountiful this place must have been hundreds of years ago. The contrast of the quartz  studded desert and the clear blue sea is the making of true paradise. Sonoran hospitality, warm smiles everywhere you look, and a calm easy pace of living has made this one of my new favorite places on earth.

Morning light on the fountain.

Native cacti in bloom.

A beautiful stained glass window depicting Cortez in our hotel.

A spur from a Spanish solider, part of Manuel’s collection.

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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I
After multiple flights and bus rides, we arrived in Guaymas, Mexico …
just as a tropical storm was winding down. The clouds were heavy and the gusts of wind warm and refreshing. Our hotel was built in the 1800’s and the architecture is gorgeous. Generous arches, hand carved wooden details and expansive plazas decorate the shoreline looking out over Bacochibampo Bay.
We finished the evening with Douglas McLaurin and his lovely wife Elisabeth eating ice cream made from local fruits, and wandering through down town. Douglas is an endless source of historic and scientific facts. I learned that Guaymas once boasted many foreign embassies and was a pivotal port for goods destined for the U.S.
Today the European architecture is what remains of that bustling time. Guaymas is also the home town of three Mexican presidents.
This morning I took my coffee in the shade of a giant cactus. Douglas picked me up for smoked marlin fish tacos for breakfast before heading to the farm.
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm consists of a gorgeous lofty white gift shop and offices.
The farmers and their staff have created a fantastic display of tools, shells and equipment to truly educate their guests in all the steps it takes to raise these very rare pearls. The jewelry store is lovely, and is complimented by two lovely ladies with warm smiles: Rocio Mendoza and Carolina Bazua. It boasts the work of many talented designers and artisans. The farm is really a destination in Guaymas and guided tours are given daily.
I’ve never seen a pearl shop with a better view!
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm crew work seamlessly.
Wise eyed men sing sweetly while bringing baskets of oysters in from the warm waters.
The oysters are opened and split in half.
Then comes the fun part! We SQUISH through the guts to find each and every pearl!
I was thankful for the full length aprons and matching boots!
Pearl harvesting is a messy business and these guys do it in style!
Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava painstakingly record the pearl count and quality harvested from each basket.
After the pearls are harvested the shells and meat are separated.
The shells are cleaned and sorted. The best quality to be used as inlay, the others allowed to dry naturally. The meat is cleaned and cut to be sold as sea food.

The oysters used at the Sea of Cortez pearl farm are Pteria sterna .. Otherwise known as the “rainbow lipped shell”
It’s really no wonder!
Daniel Duarte, a very pleasant man, is in charge of web sales and photography and I must say I envy his job!

After harvesting was over we pored over the mabe pearl stock and matched pairs. Then we went for lunch in San Carlos.
We sat next to the harbor and learned that there is much truth in the description of it being a “drinking village with a fishing problem”

It was a fantastic first day and we’re looking forward to day two!
Being at a harvest is “what it’s all about”… The hokey pokey for a pearl dealer!!

 

 

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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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THANKSGIVING SHOW !

THANKSGIVING SHOW !
We will exhibiting as PACIFIC PEARLS in the “trade room” at the Intergem Show
San Mateo County Expo Center
Friday, 28 Nov 2014 noon to 6pm
Saturday, 29 Nov 10am to 6pm
Sunday, 30 Nov 11am to 5pm,
in the wholesale section (booth numbers vary).
We hope to see you there! Sarah and Fuji.
(please bring cookies and fresh fruit, in exchange for a rendition of my favorite joke, and deep discounts on pearls)

We have new tassel earrings!

Rare pearls from Mexico’s only pearl farm in the Sea of Cortez,

gold rings with unusual pearls,

great gift necklaces,
great gift necklaces you should keep for yourself, 

lots of new sterling silver one of a kind rings, and more pearly wonders to be thankful for.

 

 

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RUCKUS 2014 - Panel Discussion and Interview with Sarah Canizzaro

 

 

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Pearls from farm to YOU!

Pearls from farm to YOU!
This year’s 5th Annual Pearl-Guide Ruckus was the biggest and best yet! Over 30 pearl enthusiasts came from all over the county. We spent the weekend in a mansion on the cliffs of Palos Verdes, talking about pearls, listening to presentations, eating amazing food, admiring the view, giggling in the pool, and talking more about pearls. All the thanks for this weekend go to Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of Pearl Paradise, and their amazing team. This year we focused on pearls and the environment… it was a joy both to listen and learn, and to be in the presence of people who genuinely value sustainable in pearl production.

I was honored to be a part of a panel discussion on pearls at this year’s annual Pearl Ruckus, hosted by the generous Pearl Paradise crew. Myself,  Jeremy Shepherd of PearlParadise.com , Josh Humbert of Kamokapearls.com , Douglas McLaurin of www.perlas.com.mx/en/ .

Blaire Beavers, a true pearl expert, gave a wonderful presentation on pearls with a focus on nacre growth and, of course, an amazing array of pearl photos she has taken over her career in the gem industry.
Click the photo below to hear the presentation given by Douglas McLaurin of Mexico’s only pearl farm (the Sea of Cortez pearls we feature in our jewelry) about
“Pearls & the Environment.” IT’S FASCINATING! TRULY A MUST SEE!
From farm to table, to light box, to a Summer afternoon in the park, more than a half kilo of natural color Tahitian keshi pearls are ready to pick! Online now in necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Parcels like this do not come around very often and I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with them.
If you’re going to be in the area, please come visit us at the San Mateo County Event Center for the Gem Show – September 5th-7th.
We will be exhibiting as Pacific Pearls in the Trade Room.
The hours are: Friday 12-6 / Saturday 10-6 / Sunday 11-5
For more information: http://www.intergem.com/shows/upcoming-shows/san-mateo-ca-september-5-7
If you are traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area, please feel free to make an appointment to meet us and view our pearls at our downtown San Rafael studio.

Thank you all for your continued support and appreciation of our ever-evolving world of pearls.

With warmest regards,

Sarah Canizzaro and the Kojimapearl team.

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SUMMER IN FULL BLOOM

SUMMER IN FULL BLOOM

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying our garden and especially  the extra tourists a bird bath has attracted.

Our studio has also been a buzz of activity.. With several visitors stopping by to pick out their favorites. It’s such a treat to meet people in person after communicating with them online. I love putting faces and styles to names. I love that each lady (and occasionally a gentleman) brings with them a new story of what they do and what drew them to love pearls. I find that it’s often an auntie or mother who passed down the love of pearls and it feels great to keep the tradition alive and honor their memory at the same time.

Whilst enjoying this special place we call home.. I missed the show in Hong Kong last month.. But thankfully there were a lot of photos and videos taken of a very exciting forum of many of my pearl friends talking about sustainable pearl farming.

Here’s a link to Josh Humbert of Kamoka pearls giving his talk. He admitted he was nervous.. Not sure why, his family has been farming pearls on Ahe French Polynesia using only solar and wind power all the using farming techniques that help restore a beneficial balance to this diverse tropical ecosystem.. For decades!   http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qog8fC62bzQ

Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, probably my favorite blogger about pearls also spoke, please check out what he wrote about his time in Hong Kong.   http://www.perlas.com.mx/blog/

My only regret about this forum, besides missing it myself, was that our friends, the farmers of the luscious Japan Kasumi  pearls were not a part of the panel. Having persevered great hurdles, and brought the world organically grown fresh water pearls of superb quality, grown with the utmost care.. I hope to convince them to join in for the next forum.. and share with the world their special craft. It would be an especially important addition as most of the fresh water pearls of the world are grown in China and we know precious little about the environmental impact of this HUGE scale farming.

We here at Kojima and Pacific Pearls have long said: “Pearls are the canaries of their environment , without clean water.. There are no pearls”. It is one of our greatest joys to be working with farmers like these who are FINALLY being recognized for their environmental consciousness, and hard work!

 

PEARLS ARE THE ONLY THING IN THE JEWELRY BUSINESS THAT IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT ! 

We’re very much looking forward to seeing these two farmers  and 30+ pearl enthusiasts as we will gather in Palos Verdes at the ever generous invitation of Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of Pearl Paradise for the annual Pearl Ruckus. This year’s Ruckus is set to be the biggest yet.. and I can’t wait to meet all the new people and see the treasures they bring to share. We will be bringing new pearls to share with the group who gather from far and wide.

In the mean time.. We’re feverishly trying to upload a bunch of new jewelry pieces we’ve been working on and many new pearly delights. Here are few photos of our latest acquisitions. Enjoy!

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From the ocean with love!

From the ocean with love!
I was overjoyed to receive this 14k yellow ring back from the jeweler today. He did an amazing job of setting this heart shape natural wild abalone pearl from the north coast of California. I bought the pearl years ago.. because who can say no to a naturally occuring heart shape NATURAL pearl? The setting was made with the touch of a master, allowing the metal to frame and follow the gentle curves of this amazing pearl. The setting is open in back and the pearl  Such a special piece, I thought it deserved a blog of it’s own! Keeping this one is OH so tempting!
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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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