Tag Archives: hong kong gem show

Hong Kong pearls

You know that thing where you see someone out of context and know that you know them but how? Where? Who? That’s what’s been the biggest smile (apart from the Hong Kong pearls of course) this trip. Waiting to meet the American pearl goddess Betty Sue King of King’s Ransom Pearls (pearlgoddess.com )  someone came up to me who clearly knew me but equally clearly could not place me. T’was Lynn from one of my wholesalers.  Who was not expecting to see my standing on a HK street as she went home. Then along came another supplier. It was fun and a very small world moment.

Apologies for the late start to the trip’s blog, by the way…my laptop decided to forget my password somewhere on the way here.

The pearls have been plentiful and I’ve found many great metallics. There’s still a shortage of natural colour half drilled and undrilled in strong colours, especially that elusive lavender to purple range where lustre drops away and a dull brownyness creeps in.

ming

This is what I mean by strong colour!

Classic white pearls have been very popular in the last few months so first order of business was to find strands, undrilled and half drilled.

For anyone who thinks matching white pearls is easy..I think I managed to catch some of the subtle nuances of tone and undertone in these white undrilled round…then of course there is quality of lustre and shape and size to consider.

matching white pearls

nuances of white..colour, over and undertones, lustre, size, shape

I found some great metallic huge white round strands – up to 15mm, roundish, some flaws but hhhhhhhuuuugggeeee.

round white pearls

White strands. Round…metallic…what’s not to forgive a few flaws?

Finally, from one wholesaler, some tiny keishi strands with great lustre and delicate colour and some huge metallic buttons for great earrings which sit neatly on the lobe, have great impact but won’t flop.

minute keishi strands and big metallic coins

minute keishi strands and big metallic coins

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong here we come again!

I’m looking forward to visiting Hong Kong again in a couple of weeks, for 10 days of pearl and findings shopping – it’s such a hard job but I force myself because someone has to!

Finding the very best pearls at the keenest possible prices is probably the bet bit about this whole business – even if I do reel out of a wholesaler’s offices at the end of a day selecting, matching and finding with eyes a bit cartoon whirly-whirly.

I’ll be updating this blog daily with lots of photos from Hong Kong, wholesaler’s offices, the International gem show itself and just about anything pearl related seen on the whole trip.

Now is the time to be in touch if you want me to find just that perfect pearl for something you are planning, or the finding.

The show itself is huge, probably the biggest in the world with 3,700 international companies exhibiting . The pearl hall alone is the size of a large aircraft hanger crammed with pearls. There’s another hall which is just diamonds and another is coloured stones (you can read more here)

Earring pairs..day three Hong Kong

Today was mostly about finding pairs for earrings and stuff like that. Pretty intense pearl studying, scrutinising and sorting. I started at my favourite tahitian and south sea supplier.

First stop was the pearls for a custom commission 14ct and gold south sea station necklace. I had already got the gold, which set the pearl budget so we needed to juggle conflicting criteria. Bag after bag of various shapes and qualities of pearls. Bigger, smaller, round, drop, dark, light. It took about an hour for me and helpful wholesale assistant to settle on these pearls.. two more than in the request but the two tiny end pearls were so delicious I hope our client agrees to keep them in.

station necklace

Nine gold south sea pearls for a carat gold station necklace

The pearls had to be graduated, mixed colours (no two same colour next to each other} great lustre and smooth surface and roundish to ovalish. It got to be a bit like playing a game of solitaire as we switched pearls in and out, until..it’s like ‘click’ that’s it!

The wholesaler didn’t have a huge stash of good rounds for earring pearls so I’ll look on Monday at the exhibition when it opens.

Then we moved on to Tahitians. I love poking in the big lot bags of not perfect pearls to find the ones which can be set to produce great items- for example, grade A baroques can be ugly lumps but there are also buttons which make amazing huge button earrings – you ust have to find them

Some of the lots have -probably – over a thousand pearls and going through the lot takes time. I usually tip some out into a tray and then scoop some into a scoop and inspect each. Possibles and probables get put top right. I’m looking for possible pendants and earrings. Once I’ve gone through the whole bag I’ll look more closely at the selected ones. First check is for lustre. If a pearl isn’t metallic it goes back in the bag. Then I look fo shape and colour for pendants..for earrings it’s colour, shape and size. So irritating when two pearls are a great match but there is more than half a mm difference in size. Grrrr

Many Tahitian pearls.

Many Tahitian pearls.

After several bas full I was a bit pearled-out. Not so much that while my invoice was being drawn up I didn’t have a delve in the vault there for their top of the range pearls.

Stunners!

White south sea pearls

White south sea pearls

Perfect round white south sea pearls. The one on top was their best in stock – about £10k.

top quality Tahitian pearl strandtop quality Tahitian pearl strand

top quality Tahitian pearl strand

This strand of beautifully matched green peacocks would be about £7k

Lots of Tahitian strands

Lots of Tahitian strands

And, finally, some more tahitians.

Later, another freshwater supplier: This supplier had some white bead nucleated pearls which are getting close to south sea pearls in terms of colour, surface satiny texture, lustre but not yet shape. Here I found some very pretty round Kasumi-ish/ripples with great colour and – finally – some freshwater natural colour and black pairs. Not enough of good quality to buy in bulk by weight so I once again selected and paired up. This puts the price up but when you don;t think that the majority of pearls are good enough or will make matches then you’re wasting time if you don’t do this. I’d have loads of orangy drops for example.

After all that I was defo pearled out with whirly whirly cartoon eyes. Tomorrow is a day off because the wholesalers are packing for their move to the exhibition. No-one likes doing that!

Road to Hong Kong ..Ho Hum

What do Hong Kong and Bing Crosby have in common? Well, me and some new fans of the crooner. A mention of the Kowloon district of Ho Hum got me singing the Road to Hong Kong song, which lead to websites, video of Crosby singing and general appreciation of his marvelous voice and an interruption in the pearl selecting.

Yesterday was the first day of pearl finding and it went very very well. One highlight was finding four pairs of metallic 12mm (yes 12mm) round, smooth metallic white pearls.

white round pearls

Stunning all nacre 12mm white metallic AAA rounds white pearls. Can you see that some are even more metallic than others?

This photo also gives a clue as to how I go about selecting as perfect as can be matches. First select the best of the pearls available and then see if any of those make pairs. You can see that here I have four possibles and one pair. Eventually I made four pairs. It helps to check sizes too. When you’re scrutinising so closely what looks like a massive sie difference turns out to be a fraction of a mm, and with a head in between the pearls hopefully people will appreciate the amazingness of an almost perfectly round matched pair with a fractional size differnence

nat

Happily there seem to be more good undrilled and half drilled natural colour and black pearls this time, so I’ve already scooped some.With this many available I didn’t attempt to make pairs, just picked out the shiniest. I can made pairs later.

It’s Chinese New Year here, and another highlight was coming across a happy yellow dragon in the street,  dancing to a heavy drum beat. No-one seems sure if it is a year of the goat or the ram but happy and prosperous year of the small milk giving mammal with horns to you all!

Now I’ve just got to get Ho hum…ho ho ho ho hum ‘ by Crosby out of my head!

Day Eight – At the Gem Fair. So Many Pearls

It’s a good feeling to get to the Gem Fair finally knowing that just about all the shopping is actually done and I can spend the time pottering around and picking up the odd strand or pearl here and there.

Thanks to Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of Pearl Paradise.com I’ve ventured back into Akoya territory after some years, with the purchase of some beautiful natural multicoloured strands.

The hugepearl hall itself seemed very quiet, not many there. It could be that many would be pearl buyers were buying elsewhere or that the recession is still affecting buying.

Jeremy and Hisano were replenishing their Tahitian and South Sea stock so I got to meet lots of lovely pearls, including the carved Tahitians produced by Galatea pearls.

galatea pearls

Chi Huynh wearing one of his own carved Tahitian pearls..fabulous

carves intricate and beautiful designs into the nacre of Tahitian pearls. Some of the pearls are even nucleated with gemstones which are revealed once the carving is done – a bit like like the look of a cameo. I got to ask the man himself something I have wondered since I first heard about carved pearls – namely does the carved nacre peel and chip easily. No it doesn’t.

Kevin Canning of Pearls of Joy was also there- first time at the show and already happily clutching big bags of Tahitians.

Just to add to the name dropping (be fair, pearls is a small world)  also caught up with Betty Sue King

My final purchase? Not exciting at all. Strands of 6mm potato pearls which were needed but which I kept forgetting all week.

Job done and a bit pearl shopped out.