This has been such a successful trip. I’m home now, and unpacking all the loot from the last week’s hard pearl searching and sourcing, firstly at my favourite wholesalers’ offices and then at the Hong Kong Spring gem show. The pearls have been quite wonderful and we spent many hours in discussion on how far the quality has advanced in only five or so years. Bead nucleated pearls in all sizes were more available, but the biggest and best are still as expensive as South Sea, and rightly so for they are beautiful and as rare, if not rarer
Star of the Show
The stunning ‘new’ of the show were AAA clean pearls in deep shades of amethyst, purples, and pinks. All natural colours. These pearls have a bead inside and take three to four years to grow a good thick layer of nacre. The purple colours are the result of a little bit of mutation mixed with some very clever selective breeding and nucleation by farmers.
Pearls with such rich natural colours are new this harvest and quite stunning.
Plenty of really good ripples around, as well as hundreds of strands of pallid spotty ones – those are the ones which turn up on the usual websites.
I found two outstanding Ming strands on my last day at the show. These are dyed, yes, but the size, surface quality and lustre make them dramatic strands and potentially pretty knock-out necklaces
The colour of this strand is a deep silver grey, with a faint blush of pink. The surface isn’t clean but about half the pearls are metallic and the rest are close to metallic.
The gold strand is also not perfectly clean, there are minor surface marks but again, there is a lot of metallic lustre
We don’t carry a huge stock of Akoya pearls, mainly because it is a very specialised market well populated with experts who can supply white round pearls in various grades and qualities.
But I did find these four strands of shades of grey (!) very baroque metallic akoyas. They are 9mm to 10mm or so and very lumpy and bumpy, roundish to drops, but with great metallic lustre and strong overtones of pinks, blues, greens on some pearls.
I had hoped to get some of the mixed natural colour akoyas which were very unusual and rare a couple of years ago but farmers and wholesalers seem to have got wise to that one and there were many strands, all very expensive.
Finally I stocked up on classic white strands. I found some absolutely lush totally metallic 10mm to 11.4mm. The two strands are almost perfectly round and white white, with almost invisible light surface marks.
I also replenished our stock of all nacre white freshwater round pearls in various sizes. Total classics.
I spend most of my last afternoon trying to find some heart shaped strands. They are very popular but it seems no-one is growing them. All I found were these 10mm dyed black hearts. They have a good clear heart shape and some great colour and lustre. As you can see from the photo they have been drilled on the skew. Adds interest. I’ll keep trying to find some hearts in white and natural colours!
As soon as I can. Pairs and singles, then some new and exciting findings