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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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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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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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BIG HOLIDAY SALE ON NOW!

BIG HOLIDAY SALE ON NOW!
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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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Almost home!

Almost home!
Well my pearl hunting trip to Japan and Hong Kong isn’t quite over yet as I’m writing this from an airport layover but what a perfect time to show you all some photos of my adventures and give you an idea of what putting pearls in your hands entails.
Our 60 hours in Japan went by so quickly that I can barely remember it now.. But we did have a great soba noodle meeting with the farmers from Lake Kasumi ga Ura (Japan’s ONLY fresh water pearl production). There was a lot of giggling as per usual and of course lots of talk of the current state if the fresh water pearl market. These guys are true gems and it is our honor to carry their magical pearls.. Gifts from “the body of water beyond the mist”. On this occasion I was able to purchase a lot of Kasumi Keshi pearls! They are not big, most of them are not perfect.. And I know that the look will not appeal to most… But for those of you who are avid pearl collectors and understand the rarity of a strand (or rope) of natural color Japan Kasumi Keshi .. Then please find the sneak peek photos below .. I spent ALL day on Sunday painstakingly sorting these into quality and color mix pieces.. ( and for anyone who wonders if these are Chinese pearls.. Rest assured I could think of a thousand other things to do with my entire Sunday.
These are guaranteed Keshi pearls from Japan’s Lake Kasumi ga Ura… And what you see in the stringing board is the collection of one farmer over a decade!

When we landed in Hong Kong … This was the forecast.

And this was the view from the ferry coming home from visiting a friend in an outlying island.

So we splished and splashed from one office to the next trying to see as many pearls as we could before the Hong Kong show started. Most of my days were spent like this.. Making pairs and sorting through thousands upon thousands of pearls to find the most beautiful and unusual ones I could.

Fujis sister Aloha was in town from Bangkok and it was a joy to accompany her to the Hong Kong show as she has been in the pearl business for her entire life and is also a GREAT designer… So fun to have shopping buddies and teachers. It had been so long since i last went to the Hong Kong Jewelry show, I had forgotten how much fun it is! Here is a photo of her wearing our simple drop earrings , so complimentary with her elegant purple blouse!

The weather cleared just before the show began and these are photos from the roof of our building in Tsim Sha Tsui.

My favorite place to escape the hustle and bustle of a city with 7 million people!

The show was fantastic! I really enjoyed seeing so many old and new friends and shopping for pearls and other jewels for three long days!
Here are JUST A FEW of my favorite finds. I will of course post them all on the website little by little upon returning home.

 

AND as an added bonus.. Whilst I was away.. our team at home produced some very tasty pearl rings in our studio in downtown San Rafael.

These are simply warming my heart right now!

So the time has come to board the plane and say goodbye to the balmy days of Asia for a few months..

Thank you all for supporting what I do.. there is magic in it all. 

 

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the TUCSON SHOW in a pearl shell …..

the TUCSON SHOW in a pearl shell …..

Every  year, the show in Tucson is a buzz of frenzied work and inspiration. It is one of the few times of the year that I am graced with the presence of so many pearl experts and enthusiasts. This year was no exception. Our booth was busier than it has been in years. Many old friends and customers who hadn’t made it for the last few years, returned to our booth … and it was a joy to see them excited about the pearls. Ready to go home and thrill their customers. One of my greatest pleasures is feeling like the special care we pay to choosing both beautiful and unusual pearls echos throughout the world born into one of a kind creations by some of the most talented and kind people in the business.

We flew from San Francisco on a crystal clear morning … looking forward to the fun!

After a quick birthday lunch celebration for Fuji , we settled in and finally finished pricing all the pearls.

 Ready for the great show ahead!

For one golden morning we get to sneak out of the booth and meet with a fantastic group of pearl professionals for a walk and talk around the AGTA show. This walk is organized by the powerhouse appraiser known as Lois Berger. 

Lois Berger the world’s most determined pearl grader!

Cute as a button and stronger than most people I know put together~!

Gina Latendresse of the American Pearl Company  showing us all some of her interesting beauties.   http://www.americanpearlcompany.com/our_company/  Gina is a second generation pearl dealer specializing in American Cultured Pearls as well natural pearls from all over the world. (She can also do handstands and flips) Needless to say , she’s a pearl heroine of mine! The history of their family in the pearl industry is most incredible.

The best night out was spent with new and old friends from Pearl-Guide . Thank you very much to Jeremy and Hisano for organizing and hosting such a lovely dinner. I wish I had better photos of it to share! Such a fantastic group of people. I was blessed to have been there. Thank you to Elizabeth Strack and Lois Berger for keeping me entertained with fantastic stories and hilarious bits of women’s wisdom. True pearls, those two!
The relatively short 6 day show at the GJX  is great! Just before jumping on the plane to fly home. I made the annual stop at the Gem Mall to see the work of my dear friend Lou Zeldis. As many of you know Lou passed away in 2012 and left an incredible collection of original art. His dear friend Liz Marx took the reigns and kept the booth open in his honor. She is a true friend  with a superhuman heart.

If you knew Lou, please visit the facebook page created in his spirit.

Now it’s back to work, details details details… and pearls galore! Thank you for your patience, to all of you who have been waiting for responses and custom orders. I hope this photo montage will help you to see what a pearl whirlwind looks like!

Cheers, Sarah

 

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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. ***
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