Welcome to the 3rd and final report from the March 2016 Hong Kong Gem & Pearl Show. If you missed DAY 1
and DAY 2
, I highly suggest you go back and scroll through the pics. My wife Alana has a real knack for pearl photography and took some fantastic photos, you'll thank me later.
We see strands like this every show, always behind glass, always with a jaw dropping price tag(at least six figures), and always worth a stop to look/drool. The size and value of these strands makes them seem more like a museum piece than something one might actually wear out in public. Regardless of price, just the weight alone would make them impossible for most to wear for more than a short time. But I'm sure there's a few readers that would be willing to give a shot ;).
Natural Black Freshwater Pearls?
I was sitting at one of the largest freshwater pearl producers, happily in the zone matching earring pairs. When one of the bosses(who knows I like exotic pearls) brought this strand of "black" freshwater pearls over and told me she matched it last night. She also made it very clear that these were natural color, not dyed.
I've seen similar pearls, but never as dark as these. To be sure I asked two more times if they were dyed or natural, both times I was assured they were natural color. When I asked if they had anymore, the answer was "no", just what I held in my hand.
I'm not sure what to think about these, but here's why I think they are natural color.
- The first picture shows some natural "candy" colored drops I purchased in 2015. These appear to be of the same ilk, similar size, shape and luster -- just darker.
- The person who showed them to me, knows I never buy dyed pearls and only want rare and exotic pearls when I come to her booth. She's also never misled me in the past.
- When pearls are dyed, they dye many pearls at time. If these were dyed, I would expect to see a large number available. There was only this strand.
I think the only option is to sacrifice a pearl, slice it open and see if there is evidence of dye. I'll report back when I get a chance to investigate further. It would be very interesting development should they turn out to be natural color.
Metallic Souffle Pearls
Souffle pearls are large fluffy, cloud like pearls, that often display sharp metallic luster and a wide range of colors. These are one of those pearls that either sings to you, or doesn't -- not many people on the fence about Souffle pearls. Notoriously difficult to photograph under the harsh display lights of the trade show, Alana did a great job capturing the myriad of overtones and orient visible in these pearls.
Related blog post: What are Souffle Pearls?
Super Metallic Freshwater Pearls
On day one we did good selecting some excellent freshwater metallic pearls, but struggled to find the numbers I wanted. On our final day I decide to give it another go. Again it was difficult to source numbers but I was able to make a small handful of big 11mm metallic pairs and collect a small amount of 6-8mm super metallic pearls for a future project.
White Metallic Smooth Ripples(?)
Not sure what to call these. They're round, clean pearls with a slightly rippled texture, but not enough that you'd call them "ripples". What I do know is, they're large, with exceptional metallic luster(notice the subtle green/blue overtone). As an added bonus, all three strands are a perfect match.
I was thinking of making a 54" endless rope with them, but a reader(who's opinion I trust) told me that it would end up being too heavy for most women. If you have a suggestion on what to do with them or even what I should call them? Leave a comment below and let me know.
That's All Folks
Well, that's another gem show finished. What's left now is a little jet lag and several large piles of pearls to sort, price and turn into one-of-a-kind jewelry. I hope you enjoyed following us along on another pearl buying adventure.
Overall I feel we didn't see a lot of new material. Normally in March we see a lot of new pearls(harvests are fall/winter), but not this time around. That said, we did find some exceptionally beautiful and rare pearls and did well stocking up on our "bread & butter" pearls(standard Akoya, Freshwater & Tahitian pearls) for spring and Mother's Day. All in all, this trip was a big success.
If you enjoyed the pics, please leave a comment below.