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Lucy and Ethel’s great road trip to KojimaPearl

Lucy and Ethel’s great road trip to KojimaPearl

Last month we were graced by the presence of two TRUE pearl lovers .. These dear ladies affectionately refer to themselves as the Lucy and Ethel of pearls. While being best of friends they are also frequent contributors to many jewelry and pearl online forums. These ladies KNOW THEIR PEARLS! I adore both of them and am pleased to be able to share the thread they started on Pearl-Guide. It’s a great sneak peek into where our jewelry is made and what to expect if you ever come to visit us.

http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?10470-Road-trip-to-Kojima-Pearls

and if you’re not familiar with Pearl-Guide.com  I urge you to become a member and meet pearls you had never dreamed of!

 

 

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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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Thank you customers, Thank you Thursday!

Thank you customers, Thank you Thursday!

WE HAVE JUST FINISHED UP A FANTASTIC SPRING SALE HERE.

 I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO PURCHASED, COMPLIMENTED, AND SHARED NEWS ABOUT WHAT IS WE DO HERE.
IT IS A JOY AND A PLEASURE TO BRING YOU THE VERY BEST AND WEIRDEST PEARLS I CAN FIND.
MAY YOU ALL WEAR THEM WITH A SMILE!
SO TODAY, IN A COSMIC WAY..
IN WALKED A 17MM ROUND PISTACHIO TAHITIAN PEARL.
WHEN I SAW IT I SAID “WOW THIS MUST HAVE MADE A FARMER VERY VERY HAPPY’
TURNS OUT IT WAS MY TAHITIAN FRIEND WHO PULLED THIS BEAUTY FROM THE WATER.
IT IS WAS THE ONE AND ONLY PEARL WORTH KEEPING FROM AN ENTIRE HARVEST OF SECOND GRAFTS!!
THIS IS A RARE PEARL INDEED!
MMMMMMMMM…… THANK YOU THURSDAY!
(MORE PLEASE)

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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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rosebud Tahitian pearls .. the nacreous aliens among us

rosebud Tahitian pearls .. the nacreous aliens among us

Recently I made a strand of what I called “rosebud tahitian” pearls. The surface of these pearls is dotted with small keshi pearls that grew on the surface of the pearl while still in the shell. The texture is something not often seen in ocean pearls… and I was quite pleased with the way this necklace came together!  The term “rosebud pearl” is most often used to describe Chinese fresh water pearls or natural American fresh water pearls, but I felt that these pearls held the same feeling and thus a new category of pearls landed among us. The natural color Tahitian pearls in this piece ranged in size from 14-17mm!
Here are a few photos of the necklace which has sold.
Stay tuned.. we are working with a fresh lot of these unique pearls now!
If you are not reading new posts on www.pearl-guide.com…
you are missing out on the ever widening world of pearls.
Here is a link to a thread about rosebud tahitian pearls

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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!

FALL EXHIBITIONS 2015

FALL EXHIBITIONS 2015

SAN MATEO INTERGEM
SEPTEMBER 11-13 2015
we will be exhibiting as Pacific Pearls in the wholesale trade room

UNIQUE SF

SEPTEMBER 19-20

Fort Mason Festival Pavilion , San Francisco

Exhibiting as Kojima Pearl Co.

(booth #155)

DOUGLAS TRADE SHOW

HAWAII MARKET MERCHANDISE EXPO

 BLAISDELL CENTER , HONOLULU HAWAII

NOVEMBER 6-8

Exhibiting as Pacific Pearls

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PEARL RUCKUS 2015!

PEARL RUCKUS 2015!

One of the highlights of our year is joining fellow pearl professionals and enthusiasts at what we call the “Pearl Ruckus”.
These lavish annual weekends are hosted by the most generous Hisano and Jeremy Shepherd of Pearlparadise.com .

This year we gathered on Friday evening in Pacific Palisades in a mansion that had so many rooms I lost count.

The ceilings must have been 40 feet tall and the arches framed the sky with grandeur.

Friday night was a champagne toast to the moderators of Pearl-Guide.com : Blaire Beavers and Caitlin Williams.. both are experts on pearls and lovely, warm women of MANY talents.

They were both gifted with Finestrino pearl earrings hand made by Hisano ….for their years of work on the world’s largest online forum about pearls.

These amazing designs feature Chinese fresh water souffle pearls artfully carved out, polished and adorned with tiny pearls or gemstones.

These designs are the  brainchild of Hisano and she even won the CPAA Orient Award last year.

We started gathering again early Saturday morning for a full day of presentations. Jeremy and Hisano took us on a video tour of their epic adventure to Flower Island in the Philippines earlier this year. They visited the Jewelmer pearl farms. Jewelmer, famous for their gorgeous South Sea pearls and their tireless pursuit of perfecting the golden pearl. They are culturing thousands of strains of algae in their laboratories to find the perfect diet for their pinctada maxima oysters  to feed on!

Next up was Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guaymas, Mexico (where we visited just over a month ago).

Douglas is a very talented public speaker, and a gifted teacher. He taught us more about the history of the Sea of Cortez, the natural abundance and near extinction of the sea life there.

He outlined data they collected in the first ten years of their work showing the DRAMATIC repopulation of native oysters and how the rest of the sea life in the area benefitted!

By gathering and fostering the remaining oysters in 1996, they were able to stop the extinction of the species!

It was fascinating as always and made it feel so good to be a offering their pearls for sale.          

Watch the trailer for the National Geographic “World’s Funniest Weird Farms” made about the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, and how Douglas became Dr. Mollusk!

After lunch and bit of relaxation, we saw a presentation by Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearl.. a world famous photographer, and pearl farmer from Ahe, French Polynesia.  I have also travelled to the Kamoka farm on two occasions, so it is always a treat to see Josh’s photos of this magical atoll in the middle of the ocean. It is a place to dear to my heart.

The black pearls they raise, using environmentally sound practices are some of the most colorful and sought after in the world!

Their farm is powered with only solar and wind energy, and they let the fish populations clean the oysters. This is more beneficial to the delicate ecosystem of the atoll than spraying them clean. Another example of sustainable pearl farming!

Celeste Brash, a celebrated travel author and Josh’s wife. She is in charge of Kamoka’s websales .. and keeping him in line 

Douglas McLaurin brought a beautiful array of Sea of Cortez pearls.. and also kept us entertained with his "special human tricks"

Much of the fun of the Ruckus is getting dressed up, showing off your pearls, and admiring those of all the other ladies in attendance. Caitlin and Sheryl Goodspeed of Mauna Kea Moonlight collaborated on her pearl mushroom pendant. Barbara Somlo showed off her metallic Chinese fresh water pearl pendant. Cathy Dassler brought her sweater that she hand embroidered using hundreds of 2mm white round pearls and silk ribbon! Wendy Fairchild in her most color Tahitian pearls.. and a hand forged fine silver pendant with a Sea of Cortez baroque pearl made by Carlos Cabral of Guadalajara Mexico.. and the “line of ladies”.. I love and admire each and every one of them.. it is such a joy to see them each year, hear their stories and meet the new faces in the group!

Sheryl set up a table of her beautiful jewelry, and Saturday was also her birthday! Her husband Tom, played and sung songs to entertain us with Mikey who is a professional diver and deals in the nuclei used to culture pearls all of the world! He is also famous for traveling with a “suitcase” full of pearls!

Sheri Jurnecka brought her famous octopi pendants set with different outrageous pearls,and also a cast mermaid pendant.

We set up a little table to show our latest designs and we were really excited to share the necklace of the top grade of Japan Kasumi pearls from the latest harvest, as well as the “glowing from within” Sea of Cortez mabe necklace.

That’s Patricia Saab in the lavender blouse.. she also makes pearl jewelry and sells the world’s BEST string for knotting pearls and gemstone beads.. Check out her etsy shop!

It was a weekend to remember.. and recover from!

On Sunday everyone met at PearlParadise office in Los Angeles and feasted on the fruits of their pearl vault! Please see more photos on the Pearl-Guide Ruckus 2015 thread!

We are blessed to be a part of this lovely talented group of pearls! Thank you Jeremy and Hisano.. you are generous wonderful people.

My only regret is not taking more photos!

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