Tag Archives: blue south sea pearls

Blue Pearls…rare?

Blue pearls. Really rare. Right?

The answer to that is both yes..and no. Blue pearls are possible in every pearl type – akoya, South Sea, Tahitian and freshwater. But within each type they are ..yes..rare.

Akoya

Until quite recently akoya pearls were white and round and that was that.  Pesky pale pastel colours were bleached and then usually a delicate pink blush was added. That is how akoya pearls had been for decades. Round and white with a hint of pink. Then around five years ago akoya growers and dealers started to notice that freshwater pearls were selling by the hank in natural colours, not dyed or treated. The first natural colour untreated akoya pearls appeared at Hong Kong. They were sort of under the counter or right at the end, sort of an apology, next to the seas of white and round and shiny. They were also very cheap compared to their white relatives.

I had avoided the white and shineys…simply other sellers could hold stocks of all the variations of white, size, grade etc and do it better than me. But these pastel colours, well, that was me and I bought several strands just to see what they were like and if my pearl loving customers would love them. They did. Within a couple of weeks they had all gone. And the same at the next show. By the time around two years ago the akoya wholesalers were well wise to demand and those untreated pastel shades strands had shot up in price

Amongst the other pastel shades were faint blues . really really faint blues. The pearl was feeling-a-bit-chilly faint blue

natural colour chinese akoya rounds

These are natural chinese akoya round pearls. there are some touches of blue/grey colour..patchy and faint

Then Vietnamese akoya pearls appeared. And boy some of them had the most beautiful and indisputably blue shades of colour

I looked for the non-round strands and the baroque single undrilleds

vietnamese akoya

Strand of roundish elliptical blue/grey Vietnamese akoya pearls

blue akoya pearl

Single blue Vietnamese baroque akoya pearl.

 

 

 

 

 

Freshwater

One of the things I noticed last March in Hong Kong was a few – a very few- freshwater blue pearls. Blue pearls have been foreshadowed by the blues in ripple pearls for a couple of years. Some ripples have displayed patches of strong blue colour but blue freshwater pearls. That is something quite quite new.

I saw only a few, and then not really strong blue, as in the blue of facebook, for example, but in terms of gentle but definite blue – here is an example

Deeper blue solid nacre freshwater blue drop shaped pearl

Deeper blue solid nacre freshwater blue drop shaped pearl

freshwater hollow blue pearl

Huge 12 by 15 hollow freshwater pale sky blue south sea like pearl

There are, of course, still dyed blue freshwater pearls around, but, in a huge evolution to the market in the last few years, and apart from greys and blacks, it is really  rare to see the sort of garish dyed colours so common before. (and if we do see them at wholesale they are probably very old and dusty stock)

 

 

Tahitian

Tahitian black pearls are, of course, never black. Mostly they are greens, but very very occasionally there is a blue one. Often the blue is a patch, almost just a glimpse in a peacock effect on a green pearl, or a shimmer of overtone from a certain angle, but just occasionally a really individual oyster manages a true blue pearl such as the one shown here.

blue tahitian pearl

That blue tahitian was the inspiration for this handmade chain necklace in white gold.

 

Blue Tahitian pearl

Blue Tahitian pearl

 

 

 

 

 

Blue South Sea Pearls

Blue pearls from the south seas are perhaps the pearls we all think of when we think ‘blue pearls’. They are nearly the rarest of the south sea colours (the greens which are actually blues with organic reside inside (!) are probably the very rarest) and hauntingly beautiful. They come in shades from the palest blue – almost just a blush, to a deep dusty blue, but Royal Air Force uniform blue is the usual shade.

Charles Rennie Macintosh pearl - because the markings on the top are so like his classic art nouveau rose design

This is what I call the Charles Rennie Macintosh pearl – because the markings on the top are so like his classic art nouveau rose design

Huge hollow blue south sea baroque pearl.

Huge hollow blue south sea baroque pearl.

blue south sea pearl

We had some fun with some mis-shaped Blue south sea pearls I brought back from Hong Kong last trip and made them into what we’ve called ‘pokemon’ pearls – this is a little dancing man!

round blue pearl pendant

A pendant or enhancer is a great way to get started with blue south sea pearls. (This is a more classic simple round pearl if you aren’t a poke-fan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there we go. Blue pearls are possible in all pearl types. But as colours go, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Lustre day 6..Blue, blue and blue

Another lustrous day. First off we had a private viewing of some fabulous Riketea Tahitian pearls, Beautiful lustre and colour. Plus south seas; gold, white and blue.I think I could have very happily bought every single pearl. There were strands and single pearls, including some huge blue south sea pearls

blue baroque south sea pearls

Huge blue south sea baroque pearls, up to 18mm

Riketea Tahitian pearl strands

Rketea Tahitian pearl strands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One interesting snippit of information was the variation in nacre deposition between apparently identical Vietnamese akoya pearls on the same farm and growing side by side (there are only three akoya pearl farms in Vietnam)

Akoya pearl growth rates

Both pearls grow on the same tiny nucleus in the same conditions on the same farm, nucleated at the same time and harvested at the same time.

You can see how tiny the nucleus is -0.9mm- and in only eight months there is enough nacre to keep everyone very happy indeed. The pearls are 8mm and 7.4mm

Only Vietnamese farms seem to produce the really strong blue akoya, although they were scarce except in the baroque singes which I selected on the first day of the show. There were strands of grey with a blue cast but none of the startlingly royal blues which are possible occasionally.

Speaking of blue pearls, here is one of the Riketea atoll strands, every one a true  blue tahitian pearl, rather than green with a blue cast. Quite lovely.And large 10mm to 13mm with metallic lustre.

Blue tahitian pearl strandBlue tahitian pearl strand

Blue tahitian pearl strand

In the afternoon I went right across the huge Asia World Expo site to the other end to the hall with tools, and had a bit of a Tim Taylor interlude.

There were 3d printers printing gold items, laser cutters as well as machines for making the wax forms for lost wax casting.and the basic tools for silversmiths, which probably haven’t changed for centuries. Indeed probably one of the superb craftsmen from millennia ago in Egypt would not only recognise most tools but be able to pick them up and set to work with them.

I treated myself to a proper set of ring measures and a ring measure stick. I’ve only been wanting them for 20 years so it was probably time without being profligate

Finally I went to catch up with Andrew, the boss of the world class polishing cloth company Town Talk. It’s one of those silly things that we are based only about 25 miles apart but have to travel to Hong Kong to talk!

Town Talk Polish Cloths. Made in Lancashire

Town Talk Polish Cloths. Made in Lancashire