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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 – 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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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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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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